Wilmington (Del.) wins CACC title
DeLong pitches Wildcats to second consecutive championship
WILMINGTON, Del. -- More pitching brilliance was the key, but a two-out bases loaded hit-by-pitch proved to be the winner as Wilmington (Del.) captured back-to-back Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championships, defeating top-seeded Felician 1-0 in the championship game early Saturday afternoon at Frawley Stadium.
Wilmington (32-16) came in as the second seed, winning the final 11 CACC contests of the regular season to earn the first-round bye and go through the CACC Tournament without a loss. The last time the Wildcats lost to a CACC opponent was on April 1 in a double-header sweep at Felician (27-24).
The story of the CACC playoffs has been the pitching staff, and the hurlers came through once again on Saturday, closing the door on the second consecutive CACC Championship for the Wildcats. Today it was sophomore Justin DeLong’s turn to shine on the hill, as he tossed the first 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball to give the offense a chance.
Nick Marics came on in relief in the seventh and got out of a bases loaded, two out jam to escape any damage. He then threw a perfect eighth inning as the Wildcats led 1-0 to put the ball into the hands of the All-CACC closer, Jordan Oncay.
Oncay left little in doubt for the Wildcats as he struck out the side on 12 pitches, starting a dog-pile behind the mound as the team mobbed the senior following the final out.
Wilmington was out-hit once again in the contest 6-4 but capitalized on a pitching miscue by Felician for the game’s only run. After a scoreless first six innings of the game, the Wildcats got on the board in the seventh.
With one out, Matt Lopes walked on a seven pitch at-bat to start the rally. Frank Samluk singled after going down 0-2 to put a runner in scoring position with one out. After Felician recorded a strike out for the second out of the inning, Kyle Hitchens worked another walk to load the bases. Golden Falcon reliever Matt Facendo came on to pitch to Jonathan Rodriguez. On a 3-1 count, Rodriguez took one for the team, as he was plunked with the pitch to bring in the eventual game-winning run.
The Golden Falcons had a chance to put runs on the board in the top of the fifth after the first two hitters reached with singles. A DeLong strikeout, one of six on the day, gave the Wildcats one out in the inning before Felician’s Gary Lavoie ripped a line drive right at Hitchens at second, who doubled up the runner at second to end the threat.
Felician also pieced together three hits in the bottom of the sixth, but came up short once again as Jay Collazo was thrown out at the plate by Payne in left field to end the inning. The Golden Falcons also left the bases loaded in the seventh inning, getting one hit and two walks before Marics came on with two outs to induce an inning ending ground out to Rodriguez at short.
It was the second 1-0 shutout of the CACC Tournament for the Wildcats, as they defeated third seeded Dominican 1-0 on Thursday at Wilson Field. Wilmington came back and defeated Felician in the winners’ bracket game on Friday, 4-2, to advance to the CACC Tournament Championship game on Saturday.
Felician defeated Dominican in an elimination game on Friday night to move onto the CACC Championship on Saturday. The Falcons would have needed to defeat Wilmington twice on Saturday to claim the title.
It is the fourth CACC Tournament Championship for the Wildcats as they have also won the tournament in 2007, 2009 and 2011. They now await their destination in the upcoming NCAA Division II selection show on May 15.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Jamie Treml was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after his record breaking 16- strikeout performance against Dominican in the Wildcats’ opening game of the championship. The 16 strikeout effort broke the CACC Tournament single-game strikeout record, surpassing the previous record of 12, which was done three times previously, most recently by Dominican’s Matt Dilgen in 2006.
BJ Janney, Hitchens, Samluk and Oncay join Treml on the CACC Baseball All-Tournament Team for their outstanding performance on the field during the three-day event.