May 23, 2009

Courtesy of Carthage Athletics

The Carthage College baseball team (37-8, 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, knocked off defending-national-champion and No. 1 Trinity College (Conn., 33-7), 10-1, on Saturday, May 23 at the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis. The win eliminated Trinity (Conn.) from the tournament, while Carthage will play next on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. against the loser of Saturday's fourth game between Shenandoah University (38-8) and the University of St. Thomas (Minn., 37-12).

Carthage lost to No. 3 the College of Wooster (40-9), 8-1, on Friday, May 22 in a first-round game, while Trinity (Conn.) lost its first-round game to Kean University (39-9), 8-5. In the two other first-round games on Friday, No. 6 Shenandoah University (38-8) pounded No. 12 Farmingdale State College (30-16), 12-2, with No. 5 the University of St. Thomas (Minn., 37-12) upending No. 9 Chapman University (30-16), 9-1. On Saturday, May 23, Farmingdale State (30-16) plays Chapman (30-16) in the other loser's bracket game at 1:15 p.m. Wooster (40-9) takes on Kean (39-9) in the first winner's bracket game 4:30 p.m., with Shenandoah (38-8) taking on St. Thomas (Minn., 37-12) in the other winner's bracket game at 7:45 p.m.

On a warm and overcast day, Carthage pitcher Jordan Jaehne-Llanas and Trinity hurler Derek Anderson dueled away for the first four and one-half innings. Jaehne-Llanas worked out jams with runners in scoring positions in three of those five innings. Carthage broke a scoreless tie with a single run in the fifth. The Red Men loaded the bases with one out, before John Lequia drove home Tyler Eickmeyer with a slow roller to the right side. The Bantams mounted a serious threat in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs on a Tyler Eickmeyer throwing error, an Alex Rokicki single and walk to Sean Killeen. Jaehne-Llanas got Kent Graham on an infield fly to end the inning.

The Red Men finally broke through with an eight-run seventh inning. Carthage loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Eickmeyer, a bunt single by Joe Ferro, and Trevor Whately was hit by a pitch. Chris Shannon hit into a force play, erasing Eickmeyer at the plate but leaving the bases loaded. The next batter, John Lequia, golfed a low pitch off the rightfield foul pole for a grand-slam home run and a 5-0 Carthage lead. Mike Hughes followed with a single, and Will Hodges was hit by a pitch. Tim Hansen then sent a ball over the centerfielder's head for a two-run double and a 7-0 Red Men advantage. Eickmeyer hit his second single of the inning, sending Hansen to third. Eickmeyer stole second, and both runners scored on a single by Joe Ferro and a 9-0 lead. Trinity scored an unearned run in the eighth to break the shutout at 9-1, and a sacrifice fly by Carthage's Drew Roberts in ninth made it 10-1.

Jaehne-Llanas (9-2) limited the Bantams to one unearned run on seven hits and five walks over eight innings, while striking out nine batters. Mike Maher entered the game in ninth with two runners on and no outs and induced two ground balls, the latter for a game-ending double play. John Lequia went two-for-five with a home run and five RBI, while Joe Ferro and Tyler Eickmeyer had two hits each. Eickmeyer's single in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 23 games, tying him with Rick Ramczyk for the third-longest streak in Red Men history behind Glen Braun (26 games in 1999) and Justin Hallock (25 games in 2001),