May 28, 2010

Sara Weber, Special to NCAA.com

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR
Two More Teams Make An Exit...

The 2010 NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship Series eliminated two more teams yesterday and now the tournament is down to the last four teams. Third-ranked and two-time champion Central Missouri was eliminated on Wednesday by an upstart Georgia College team, who scored the most runs in a game all week by defeating the Mules 9-4. All of the games in bracket one had been low scoring events until the Bobcats broke out the bats and ousted the Mules. The Mules used eight pitchers to try to prevent those Georgia bats from making it worse. The Mules encountered a tough pitcher as they did not score a run after the third inning. Reliever Brendon Malkowski came in for the Bobcats in the fourth inning and threw six shutout innings while striking out nine to make an early exit for the Mules this year. The 9-4 victory was the most runs for one team so far this week. The most runs scored in a game between both teams still belongs to the Southern Indiana/Minn State game on the second day, an 8-6 affair that Southern Indiana won. So far through five days?the first six games - the margin of victory was 1 ? runs and the last four games has been 4.75 runs. Last night, Franklin Pierce, a two-time semi-finalist in the past five years, eliminated Kutztown, 6-2 in a rematch of Sunday's marathon rain-delayed game. This time, Franklin Pierce was on the winning side and the game lasted two hours and forty-eight minutes. Ravens pitcher Brian Maloney almost threw a complete game and was able to shut down the Golden Bears of Kutztown for 8.1 innings, allowing only two runs, scattering eight hits while striking out seven.

Complete Games Are the Trend...
Through ten games six pitchers have thrown complete games. Through the last ten years, we know that the record is eight in 2001. Central Missouri's All-American Brooks Martin threw a complete game shutout in game one against Tampa, 3-0. That was followed in the nightcap by UCSD pitcher Tim Shibuya, a second-team All American, and Georgia College pitcher Martin Dewald, a third-team All-American, both throwing complete games which UCSD won 3-2. UCSD pitcher Matt Rossman, second-team All-American, continued the trend on day three by throwing a complete eleven-inning game against Central Missouri, which UCSD won 2-1 that propelled them into the semi-finals Thursday night. Franklin Pierce's Mike Adams added his own complete game in eliminating Minnesota State on Tuesday, 6-2. He threw a complete nine innings scattering six hits and allowing only two runs while striking out five. In the nightcap, Southern Indiana pitcher Josh Schultze also threw a complete game propelling the Screaming Eagles into the semi-finals Thursday. Southern Indiana sent Kutztown to the loser's bracket, 7-1, the largest margin of victory in the tournament so far. Schultze scattered eight hits allowing only one run while striking out six.

Home runs a Few...
There have only been five home runs hit through 10 games with four coming only in the last two days. The hitters say the sunshine helps. Five different batters have hit them and only three of those players are still in the tournament.

Better Weather...
The NCAA Baseball Committee is very happy with the weather over the last two days. After three days of rain and delays, Cary finally has sunshine and warm weather. Over the last two days, games were contested on time and ended at a reasonable time. The ball is carrying better as it is not as muggy and wet in the air.

Going Commando?...
Franklin Pierce wears a sort of grayish-camouflage hat as part of their uniform. They represent "going to battle." The coaches had originally bought them and the team liked them. They started wearing them and they ordered them as their third hat. They wore them in the regional when they had to defeat Southern Connecticut twice and fight back. They wear them when their backs are against the wall. They have worn them for the last two games and intend to wear them for the rest of their games this week.

Random Notes...
Franklin Piece will appear in the semi-finals for the third time in the last five years. In 2006 and 2007, they were ousted by Tampa in the semi-finals, as Tampa went on to win the title both those years. Thursday is cross-over day as the brackets flip flop. Franklin Pierce will take on UCSD in the later semi-final. Southern Indiana, who is 2-0, will face upstart Georgia College in the first semi-final on Thursday. In its last two games where they ousted former national champions second-ranked Tampa and third-ranked Central Missouri, they have scored eleven runs. Franklin Pierce and Georgia College will have to defeat their opponents twice to get to Saturday's national championship game. If Southern Indiana beats Georgia College and UCSD defeats Franklin Pierce, then both teams will advance to the national championship game on Saturday and there will be no games on Friday.

It has come to our attention from the author of the book "Baseball's Longest Games" by Phil Lowery that Sunday's Kutztown/Franklin Pierce game was the ninth longest game in college baseball history.

Scene and Heard Around the Ballpark...
From Franklin Pierce Head Coach Jayson King after his team ousted Minnesota State:
"Minnesota State had a real good team. We felt if we could pitch today, we'd have a good chance to win this ballgame. Mike Adams is a real gamer. Derek Ingui came up big for us with that two-run homerun?gave us the momentum a little bit."

Minnesota State Head Coach Matt Magers after his team was eliminated:
"The park has played big all week"

From Southern Indiana Head coach Tracy Archuleta after his team sent Kutztown to the loser's bracket and his pitcher Josh Shultze threw a complete game:
"We got a great pitching performance from Josh Schultze?I have to tip my hat to him. Different guy every day. All in all our guys are playing very well, a lot of passion."

Head Coach Tom Carty after his team ousted Central Missouri, 9-4:
"We got the bats going a little bit today and that's what we were hoping for as the tournament went on. We get to play another day and that's what we are looking forward to."

Georgia College pitcher Brendon Malkowski, who threw six shutout innings against Central Missouri for the win:
"Just trying to throw a lot of strikes and keep the pressure on the hitters. Just making sure I am staying on top of it and top of the batters."

Central Missouri Head Coach Tom Myers, whose team was eliminated by Georgia College:
"It boils down to pitching and defense and they did a great job of hitting every mistake we made?our pitchers?and they did a great job of hitting our every mistake."

All-American Central Missouri outfielder Chance Tuttle after his team was ousted by Georgia College:
"It's been a great season, but we didn't expect to lose today. They are a great team and we didn't have it today. Bad timing."

Franklin Pierce Head Coach Jayson King after his team ousted Kutztown and his thoughts on facing top-ranked UCSD:
"We can play with any of the teams here. We will show up and play our game and can get to the next game. We focus on the guys we have to do a good job."

Kutztown Head Coach Chris Blum after his team was eliminated from the tournament:
"Two great teams going at each other. My boys went down fighting like they have all year and that's all I can ever ask of them.

FEATURE -- FAVORITES

We spoke with a player from each of the four remaining teams and asked them what their favorites are and how they feel about their teams' chances moving forward.

UCSD first baseman senior Brandon Gregorich

Hometown: Oakley, CA. (bay area)
How he decided on going to UCSD: He went to a JC near his home and they recruited him from there. He liked the school and the coaches. The campus is beautiful.
What struck him about the coaches that he felt like he would fit in: The old style baseball. That's just how we play the game here. Our uniforms are big and baggy, how they used to wear them. They're just intense and the main focus for all the coaches is winning and I thought I would fit in real good. I want to win and we are close now.
Did you ever want to go to a Division I school?: Yeah, of course I did, but I knew that this team is a winning program and I knew I would do well and succeed and we made it to the DII College World Series and I am excited for we are at now.
After losing in the semi-finals last year, did you feel there was unfinished business?: We did, yes. I was disappointed last year. I watched the national championship last year and I had to turn it off. Glad to be back this year and have a chance to go for it again.
Always play baseball growing up?: It's always been baseball. Played basketball in HS. All those other sports were to help me stay in shape for baseball.
Always play the same position?: I pitched in little league. In HS, I played third. In college, I play first and like being there. First base suits me good.
Ever dream of being in this position when you were little?: Definitely. When I was little never really dreamed of college, but dreamed of playing professional baseball. As I got older, I thought about college and what it would be like to go to a world series. It's awesome, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love being here. North Carolina is great - it is just a different experience.
Are you happy you made the decision to go to UCSD?: Absolutely. It's a great academic school as well as athletic school. I feel like I fit in good. My talent level is right where our team is so excited for where I am at. About to graduate and feel on top of the world.
Major: Communications
Graduate?: About to graduate
If you didn't play baseball, what would you do for career?: Something in the media and something sports related. Maybe some kind of TV, film stuff.
Favorite Team: Oakland Athletics. They have a great farm system.
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Artist/Music: A Day to Remember/Rock Band
Favorite Song: Homesick by A Day to Remember
Favorite Place to Vacation: Hawaii
Favorite Place to Play Baseball: North Carolina
Best Ballpark in Your Conference: We do (UCSD)
Favorite Division I school: Really don't
Favorite Baseball Team: A's
Favorite Football Team: 49ers
Favorite Hockey Team: Sharks (San Jose)
Favorite Basketball Team: only watch college, don't have a professional team favorite
Brothers/Sisters; Favorite thing of theirs that they either do or like: older sister, 25, didn't get along growing up, but I love her - she is a big sister
Greatest Baseball Inspiration/and or Hero: not really - very grateful to my parents, they got me to where I am
If you could meet three people (passed away, alive, cartoon character, celebrity, athlete, any) who would those be: want to meet Alex Rodriguez, one of my favorite baseball players. Jessica Alba, she is cute
Other Favorite Sport: Football

How do you feel about your team's chances to get to Saturday(National Championship game):
Take it one game at a time and go out and play a good game of baseball. Our main source of what makes us good is that we all get along so well and we are very close as a team and I don't think other teams have the same chemistry that we have.

Southern Indiana right fielder senior Caleb Ehmke

Hometown: Auburn, Indiana - north of Ft. Wayne
How he decided on going to USI: I was going to school at Arizona Western, a junior college and I was playing summer ball. The coaches called me up and I found out that they had gone to the series the year before. I knew if I went DI, I wouldn't get to a series - this would be my best shot to go to a series. It is five and half hours from my home.
What struck him about the coaches that he felt like he would fit in: The main thing that got me that I liked is that the coaches were on top of everything - really on the ball - they were recruiting hard - practices and stuff are really organized - really wanting to win so I felt like they were doing things the right way.
Did you ever want to go to a Division I school?: I did. I was planning on going back to JC for another year and then maybe go to a DI school after my second year there.
Southern Indiana is back in the tourney after a three-year hiatus, how did you all feel about facing these top teams this week: I wanted to go somewhere where they had been successful and have an opportunity to go to a series. When we are hot, we can beat everybody.
Always play baseball growing up?: My dad was huge in baseball. Started when I was real young. I love the sport. Played basketball and baseball in HS (DeKalb). Every kid in Indiana plays basketball.
Always play the same position?: I played infield in HS, third base for my freshman and sophomore years and then I moved to shortstop for my junior and senior years. I played third base my freshman year in junior college. I DH'ed and now I am in the outfield
Ever dream of being in this position when you were little?: I've grown up watching the college world series in Omaha. It always looks like a lot of fun as a kid watching it and it is something you really want to do. It's great being here - it isn't the same level but it is still a lot of fun. It's awesome, I'm enjoying it
Are you happy you made the decision to go to USI?: I am. The baseball has been a lot of fun. It has been a great experience. I like the school and the baseball.
Major: Marketing
Graduate?: I am graduating this year
If you didn't play baseball, what would you do for career?: Looking into a grad assistant type of thing or maybe going into the business world. Not sure
Favorite Team: Red Sox
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite Artist/Music: Classic Rock
Favorite Song:
Favorite Place to Vacation: West coast, Southern Cal
Favorite Place to Play Baseball: here (North Carolina) and Sauget, IL (minor league park where regional was played)
Best Ballpark in Your Conference: We do (USI) - most fun place to play at
Favorite Division I school: Samford University (brother played there)
Favorite Baseball Team: Red Sox
Favorite Football Team: Colts
Favorite Hockey Team: don't have one
Favorite Basketball Team: don't have one
Brothers/Sisters; Favorite thing of theirs that they either do or like: he comes from a family of 13 kids - seven brothers and five sisters, he is the second oldest. I like playing with the youngest two - six year-old and four year-old Older brother Josh played baseball collegiately at Samford University.
Greatest Baseball Inspiration/and or Hero: Cal Ripken, Jr. - favorite baseball player, and I played baseball with my older brother so we were able to push each other and help each other out as we got older
If you could meet three people (passed away, alive, cartoon character, celebrity, athlete, any) who would those be: Jesus, a great uncle I was never able to meet - Howard Ehmke, who played with the Tigers with Ty Cobb, and Cal Ripken, Jr. Other Favorite Sport: Basketball

How do you feel about your team's chances to get to Saturday(National Championship game):
Winning the first two games puts us in a good position. We are short armed, but we are swinging it pretty well. I'm feeling confident and we are on a hot streak right now.

Georgia College center fielder senior Sean Harrell

Hometown: Augusta, Georgia (Lakeside HS)
How he decided on going to Georgia College: Kind of recruited as a pitcher. That was one of the few schools that was going to experiment with me and let me play two positions. It's a great baseball school and a great academic school as well. It was a perfect fit.
What struck him about the coaches that he felt like he would fit in: Actually, I was recruited by coach Calsciano (previous coach). Coach was real big on not just winning, but stressed academics as well as the strong baseball program. Struck me as that's what I was coming here for.
Did you ever want to go to a Division I school?: I did. But at the same time I wanted to win and win a championship. The offers were small and those DI schools don't compete on a national level, so DII was the choice for me. Georgia College - differences from last year, where you think the improvement was: We have 14 seniors - which is a lot for any team. We knew going into the summer that this team could be special. We have a lot of leadership - a lot of seniors. Everyone worked hard over the summer and it carried into the fall. We recognize that we had a good team on our hands and we needed to see how far we could go.
Always play baseball growing up?: Yeah - as long I can remember - always played baseball. A little bit of basketball along the way in middle school?but all baseball for me.
Always play the same position?: I played third base and shortstop in HS. I was actually recruited as a pitcher but wound up playing the outfield. Likes the outfield best. I robbed Columbus State of a two-run homerun in the regional (great catch).
Ever dream of being in this position when you were little? You dream of things when you are little and always hoped to be at this level. Always have to have confidence in yourself. All competitors have those dreams.
Are you happy you made the decision to go to Georgia College: Absolutely. It has worked out the best for me. I really got my academics well - I hadn't done that in HS. It's a great all around school. It's a great city.
Major: Pre-Med
Graduate?: Just graduated
If you didn't play baseball, what would you do for career?: Applying to Medical School so he can attend next fall. A Lot of work, but it has been great and has enjoyed it.
Favorite Team: Red Sox
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite Artist/Music: Minus the Bear // Indy Rock
Favorite Song:
Favorite Place to Vacation: Hawaii
Favorite Place to Play Baseball: Cary, North Carolina)
Best Ballpark in Your Conference: Columbus State
Favorite Other College Ballpark: Tampa
Favorite Division I school:
Favorite Baseball Team: Boston Red Sox (did a project with a Red Sox executive in HS - was up there and loved the city. It was 2004, the year they came back and won the World Series)
Favorite Football Team:
Favorite Hockey Team: don't have one
Favorite Basketball Team: Bulls (big Michael Jordan fan)
Brothers/Sisters; Favorite thing of theirs that they either do or like: one older brother. It's always good when he is in attendance at games and my two year-old nephew is there also.
Greatest Baseball Inspiration/and or Hero: My parents - good role models and they push me the right way.
If you could meet three people (passed away, alive, cartoon character, celebrity, athlete, any) who would those be: Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Pujols
Other Favorite Sport: Skate Boarding - wish I was good at it

How do you feel about your team's chances to get to Saturday(National Championship game):
Feels good. Beating Central Missouri was a good game - we got the bats going. We are going to see the number one and two pitchers again. Hopefully, we can keep rolling - keep going. We take it one game at a time.

Franklin Pierce third baseman junior Derek Ingui

Hometown: Sterling, Massachusetts (Wachusett Regional HS- outside of Worcester, Mass.)
How he decided on going to F-P: Attended University of Tampa first as a freshman, but only one semester and then transferred. Wanted to be close to home and he chose F-P because of the great baseball program.
What struck him about the coaches that he felt like he would fit in: Well Coach king came to my house originally. A lot of coaches put on a show, but coach King is serious about the team, but he is also real fun-he keeps things loose. Some of the kids from my home town go there and had a lot good things to say about the program and coach.
Did you ever want to go to a Division I school?: I had a couple of interests from UConn and Manhattan College. I kind of knew I was gonna be a DII player.
Franklin Pierce - differences from other appearances in the series where you think the improvement was: Freshman year, we went two and out and it was fun going to Sauget. This complex here is a little above where we went then.
Always play baseball growing up?: Yeah - I have always played?Babe Ruth, little league - probably five or six. Played basketball at 10 or 11 and played soccer also. Just baseball in HS
Always play the same position?: I used to catch. I pitched in little league. In HS, played short and right field. Had surgery in college and DH'ed and now playing third base all the time.
Ever dream of being in this position when you were little? I dreamed I'd go far. Most kids dream of playing professional baseball. What you dream of when you are little is Omaha and going to the College World Series, but you don't dream about Division II - but I am happy.
Are you happy you made the decision to go to Franklin Pierce: Yeah - it's worked out really nicely. I like the program, I like the school, where it is - and I like everyone on the team.
Major: Biology
Graduate?: Another year of eligibility - will graduate next year
If you didn't play baseball, what would you do for career?: Something in the health field - exercise science or maybe get a graduate degree
Favorite Team: Red Sox
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Food: Ice Cream
Favorite Artist/Music: Random - like a little bit of everything // rap // Eminem
Favorite Song: Lose Yourself
Favorite Place to Vacation: Hawaii, Maine
Favorite Place to Play Baseball: wherever the world series is
Best Ballpark in Your Conference: us (Franklin Pierce)
Favorite Other College Ballpark: Nova Southeastern
Favorite Division I school: not really
Favorite Baseball Team: Boston Red Sox
Favorite Football Team: Patriots
Favorite Hockey Team: not much of a hockey fan
Favorite Basketball Team: Celtics
Brothers/Sisters; Favorite thing of theirs that they either do or like: one older brother, 24. He's a hard worker - and you can look up to that as a younger brother.
Greatest Baseball Inspiration/and or Hero: My parents
If you could meet three people (passed away, alive, cartoon character, celebrity, athlete, any) who would those be: Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Pujols
Other Favorite Sport: Basketball

How do you feel about your team's chances to get to Saturday(National Championship game):
I feel good - I feel like we are playing well. All the teams are good, especially the four teams left. Have to come out ready to play every day. If we have good quality at bats, make the plays and have good quality pitches, we can beat the other teams.

All games will be played at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.