May 22, 2009

Courtesy of Carthage Athletics

APPLETON, Wis. - The Carthage College baseball team (36-8, 18-1 College Conference of Illinois And Wisconsin), ranked fourth in the May 19 American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III poll and seventh in the May 5 “D3baseball.com” poll, lost to No. 3 the College of Wooster (40-9), 8-1, on Friday, May 22 in a first-round game of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis.  Carthage, making its seventh national-championship appearance, will play a loser’s bracket game on Saturday, May 23 at 10 a.m. against the loser of game #2 between Kean University (38-9) and Trinity College (33-5).  Kean won the 2007 national championship, and Trinity won last year’s title.

On a perfect spring day in northern Wisconsin, Carthage played a less-than-perfect game.  Several defensive miscues cost the Red Men dearly.  Carthage seemed to have the early momentum.  The Red Men broke a scoreless tie in the third.  With two outs, Tyler Eickmeyer extended his hitting streak to 22 game with a single through the left side.  On a perfectly-executed hit-and-run, he scored on a double to the leftfield gap by John Lequia.  Wooster took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third.  With runners at first and second and two outs, Matthew Pierce singled in the tying run.  The next batter, Zach Vesco, hit a bouncer that pitcher Mario Perez kicked in an effort to slow the ball down.  The soccer move almost worked, as second baseman Tyler Eickmeyer retrieved the ball but bobbled it trying to make the force play at second, allowing Stu Beath to score the go-ahead run.  Looking to re-gain the momentum, the Red Men put two runners on with no outs in the fourth but were unable to push a run across.  After that, it was pretty much Wooster’s game to lose.

A solo home run by the Fighting Scots’ Sean Karpen in the fourth made it 3-1.  Wooster broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning.  Vesco led off with a single and moved up on a sacrifice bunt.  Shane Swearingen singled and  took second on the throw, with Vesco going to third.  Luke Sutton walked to load the bases, and Bryan Kieffer replaced Mario Perez on the hill.  Karpen greeted Kieffer with a double down the leftfield line to score two runs.  John Warren followed with a bunt in front of the plate.  Kieffer, who had no play on Karpen coming home, threw the ball away at first, allowing Sutton to score for a 7-1 Wooster advantage.  A second solo homer by Karpen in the eighth upped the Fighting Scots’ lead to the final 8-1 margin.

Pitcher Justin McDowell (13-2) was the winning pitcher for Wooster and limited the Red Men to one run on eight hits and a walk over eight innings.  Tanner Hall worked the ninth inning.  Mario Perez (6-1) allowed six runs on 10 hits and two walks over five and one-third innings.  Bryan Kieffer worked one and two-thirds innings, with Tim Keys pitching the ninth.  Will Hodges went two-for-three for Carthage with three stolen bases.  Sean Karpen paced the Fighting Scots by going three-for-five with a double, two home runs and four RBI.