Whitewater makes 14th nationals trip
Notes: Keystone to make nationals appearance for first time
For an entire year, a 4-3 loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point in a regional final simmered on the mind of the Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team.
The setback prevented the Warhawks from earning a trip to the NCAA Division III national tourney at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis.
But the memory of that gut-wrenching day was replaced by joy Saturday afternoon at Prucha Field. The Warhawks beat St. Scholastic 6-3 in the Whitewater Regional final and will head to Appleton later this week to begin their quest for a national title.
Whitewater, making its fourth trip to nationals in the last eight years, won the national title in 2005 and finished third in 2008.
“It’s great to be back,” head coach John Vodenlich said. “If we win that game last year, maybe we don’t have as much drive for this season. We used that loss as motivation and it changed everything for us.”
Jeff Donovan finished with two hits and scored two runs while Brent Young hit his fourth home run of the season and brought three runs across the plate in the seventh inning as No. 12 Whitewater (36-11) pulled in front 6-3.
Justin Lambert (5-4) picked up the win. He allowed only three hits and struck out two in four innings of action against the seventh-ranked Saints (37-7).
“Lambert is a great story. He was here as a freshman, I want to say in 2005, and had his struggles. He got away from school for awhile and came back, and he has been a leader all year,” Vodenlich said.
Brandon Peterson tallied three hits to pace the Saints while Kyle Moody added two hits.
Tim Saunders was named the MVP of the Mideast Regional. He solidified that honor in the championship game against Heidelberg on Saturday at Don Schaly Stadium in Marietta, Ohio.
Saunders racked up two hits and drove in both runs as the Pioneers, ranked No. 1 in the country, punched a ticket to the national tournament in Appleton for the first time since 2007 with a 2-1 win.
Marietta will be making its 21st appearance in the event after knocking off its rival one more time. Last week, the Pioneers ended the Student Princes’ three-run as Ohio Athletic Conference tournament champions.
Saunders hit a double and a triple as he guided the Pioneers (42-3) to the victory against No. 10 Heidelberg (36-13).
“I’ve been pulling off a lot on balls lately, so coach just reminded me to see it deep and take it the other way,” Saunders said in a story on the school‘s website. “This is a chance of a lifetime. Not every [Division III] player gets to do this…go to Appleton and play for a championship.”
Brian Gasser has yet to lose a game, improving to 13-0, as he went seven innings and gave up one run on six hits. Gasser put away four batters on strikeouts in front of a crowd of 1,057. He was pitching on just two days of rest.
Heidelberg managed to tally seven hits, including two by Ricardo Lizcano. Jason Lash tallied a hit and drove in the only run of the game for the Student Princes.
Marietta will look to take the first step toward a title when it takes on Salisbury at 2:15 p.m. ET on Friday.
Salisbury had to pick up two wins against one of the best teams in the country to punch its first ticket to the national tournament since 2004.
The Sea Gulls (33-12) defeated fourth-ranked Shenandoah twice in the championship round at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn., winning 9-8 and 8-7 to secure their third national berth in school history.
Shenandoah (37-7) led 7-6 in the seventh inning of the final game, but what the Hornets couldn’t do was slam the door shut on Salisbury.
Bill Root hit a run-scoring single that tied the game at 7-7 in the seventh before Chris Connor racked up his eighth RBI of the regional with a base hit that gave the Sea Gulls the lead for good 8-7.
Drew Baldwin, who picked up the save in the first game, stranding the potential tying run at third base, stepped up again in the finale. He put away the first two batters he faced and went on to earn another save and most outstanding player honors.
Salisbury, which has won its last 13 games, rattled off 17 hits in the deciding game. Root, Ken O’Neill, Brian Green and Tyler Bennett all tallied three hits in the win.
Nick Beall and Cory Nelson came up with three hits apiece. The loss ends a remarkable run for 11 seniors, who won 133 games and two south regional championships during their careers.
Buena Vista is headed to the national tournament for the first time in the NCAA era of its baseball program.
The Beavers dug themselves out of a 5-0, first-inning hole and rallied for a 7-6 win against No. 20 Carthage in the championship game of the Central Regional at Jack Horenberger Field in Normal, Ill. on Saturday.
The Beavers, who have not played in a national tourney since 1968 when they were at the NAIA level, scored four runs in the seventh inning to complete the riveting comeback. The fifth-seeded Beavers (32-16) tied the game at 6-6 when Dylan Colo ripped a two-run single to right-center.
Colo later scored the game-winning run when the third-strike pitch to Tyler Case was mishandled by the catcher, allowing Colo to sneak across home plate.
Ryan Scheetz paced the offensive attack, tallying three hits, including a run-scoring single in the seventh. Case and Brad Blum came through with two hits apiece.
Luke Probasco took care of business on the mound despite the fact that his team was down 5-0 when he checked into the game.
The MVP of the tournament took over with one out in the first inning and retired 13 batters in a row at one point during a 6 2/3 innings of work. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out three as he notched his ninth win of the season.
Buena Vista, which has tied a record for wins in a season, finished with 11 hits in all. James Stone picked up his eighth save of the season, working the final two innings and giving up two hits.
Carthage (32-12), the second seed in the tourney, finished with seven hits. Billy Herrin led the way with three hits while Mitch Lochen (2-2) was tagged with the loss, giving up four runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings of work for the Red Men.
Carthage had lost 8-1 to Buena Vista in the opening round of the regional but forced a decisive game for the championship with a 12-7 win against the Beavers earlier in the day.
Buena Vista heads to Appleton for the national finals at Fox Cities Stadium this week. The Beavers take on Wisconsin-Whitewater at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the opening round and are the first team from the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to play at nationals since Wartburg in 2005.
New York Regional
Gabe Torres was the hero for Keystone and propelled the Giants into the national tournament at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis., for the first time in school history.
Torres smacked a two-run single through the left side of the field in the bottom of the ninth inning and scored Roberto Santana from third base as the Giants capped a furious comeback with a 5-4 win on Saturday against Cortland State at Falcon Park in Auburn, N.Y.
It was the second time in the tourney that the Giants had beaten the top-seeded Red Dragons, winning 13-0 in the first meeting.
Third-seeded Keystone (36-10) found itself staring up at a 4-1 deficit in the sixth inning but battled back as Lance Ratchford drove in a run with a groundout and Kumar Piar knocked in a run with a base hit to slice the Cortland lead to 4-3.
Bryan Henry’s RBI hit with two outs in the seventh knotted the game at 4-4 and helped set the stage for the thrilling finish against the 2010 national runner-up.
Since a 6-1 loss to the Red Dragons on April 26, the No. 25 Giants have been on a roll. They have now rattled off 16 consecutive wins and will ride a wave of momentum into Wisconsin.
Esteban Meletiche, the MVP of the tournament, helped keep the national championship dream alive. He racked up two hits and scored two runs while Torres tallied three hits in the win. Ratchford and Andy Vega came through with two hits apiece as well.
Eighth-ranked Cortland (36-10) left 10 runners stranded in the setback, including six at third base, and managed 10 hits. Matt Wild and John Adornetto paced the offensive attack with two hits apiece.
Tom Nagy (1-1) was hit with the loss. He worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out two.
Adam Krebs (4-0) pitched the ninth and earned the win. He faced only five batters and gave up just two hits, propelling the Giants into an opening round showdown against Western New England at 8:45 p.m. ET Friday in Appleton.
New England Regional
Kevin Jefferies wasn’t perfect, but the Western New England pitcher was impressive as he pitched the Golden Bears into the national tournament for the first time in school history.
Jefferis lasted 7 1/3 innings and never gave up a run as he helped Western New England smash Bridgewater State 9-0 in the New England Regional championship game on Sunday afternoon at Whitehouse Field in Harwich, Mass.
Jefferis had not pitched since May 7 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference title game, and while he did give up seven hits and walk four batters, he recorded eight strikeouts and improved to 4-3 on the season.
By the end of the first inning, Western New England (41-9) had a commanding 5-0 lead.
Tony Trubia, Mike Rubino and Andrew Fatse all drove in a run with base hits in the opening inning while Mike Taylor did even more damage in the first with a two-run hit.
Western New England, the second seed in the regional, cranked out 15 hits against four different pitchers.
Tim Clark was named the most outstanding player in the tourney, and for good reason. He finished with seven hits during the tourney run, including four in the championship game. He also drove in a run while Matt Anthonis racked up three hits and tallied two RBI. Trubia and Taylor knocked in two runs apiece as well.
The eighth-seeded Bears (26-17) actually had runners on base in seven of the nine innings but failed to capitalize on the opportunities, stranding 11 runners. The Bears finished with seven hits but no one had more than one hit in the game.
Corey Batista (7-3), injured on Saturday while attempting to turn a double play as a shortstop, lasted 2/3 of an inning, allowing five runs on six hits.
Western New England has won its last nine and gave up four runs or less in each of its four tournament games.
Kean has made trips to the national tournament a habit. And while the Cougars were challenged in the regional championship round, needing two wins against Alvernia to get the job done, they are headed to nationals for the fourth time in five seasons.
Kean capped the regional with a 7-0 win against Alvernia on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J. It prevailed in the opening game with a 9-4 victory.
Lee Cavico helped pave the way for the top-seeded Cougars, who won the 2007 national title. Cavico racked up two hits, both doubles, and drove in a run as well en route to being named the most outstanding player in the tournament.
Ken Gregory also finished the game with two hits. He also brought four runs across the plate as Kean (42-9) jumped in front 2-0 in the first inning and never looked back against the Crusaders (38-9), who were seeded third in the regional.
Chris Cirlincione (7-1) did his part despite pitching on short rest. He gave just four hits and struck out four in seven innings of work.
Those four hits were the only four No. 13 Alvernia would get in the setback. Andrew Kirk (10-2) lost for only the second time this season, giving up four runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings of action. He also struck out four against the third-ranked team in the country.
Kean begins its quest for the national title at 11 a.m. ET on Friday when it battles Chapman at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton.
Tyler Surnbrock brought home a run with a base hit in the ninth inning as Chapman stunned Linfield 8-7 in a come-from-behind win in the West Regional Saturday afternoon at Walt Driggers Field in Abilene.
The Panthers (33-11) are headed to their sixth national tourney in seven seasons and are making travel plans for Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton this week after striking for two runs in the ninth to complete a heart-stopping comeback.
James Parr hit an RBI double to left to tie the score at 7-7 before Surnbrock delivered the game winner and catapulted the ninth-ranked Panthers to an upset of the fifth-ranked Wildcats (33-11).
Brian Rauh had a hand in sealing the deal as well. In his first appearance out of the bullpen this season, Rauh retired the side in the ninth inning. He stuck out two of the batters and notched his first save of the season. It was the fifth save of his career.
Neither team could keep a lead over the final three innings of play. Adam Kordich and Charlie Piro tallied run-scoring hits in the seventh to give the Panthers a 6-5 lead but the Wildcats battled back and pulled in front when Dustin Smith and Tim Wilson came through with RBI hits in the eighth for a 7-6 advantage.
Kordich was named the MVP of the tournament. In the championship game, he crushed a home run, one of two hits in the win, and drove in two runs. Kordich hit .462 during the tournament.
Tyler Hadzinsky added three hits. Chapman racked up 12 hits in all and Kyle Tachibana (3-2) nailed down the win, throwing for 1 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs on three hits and struck out one.
Evan Hilberg (4-2) took the loss for the Wildcats. He went 2 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out three. Smith, Tim Wilson and Eric Evenson accounted for six of Linfield’s 11 hits. Smith knocked in two runs to go along with his two hits.