APPLETON, Wis. -- Cortland State overcame an atypical performance, both at the plate and in the field, and the Red Dragons held on to defeat Salisbury 4-3 in the opening round of the NCAA Division III national finals.
The nationally fifth-ranked Red Dragons (36-8) will face either Wisconsin-Whitewater or Southern Maine in a winner's bracket game Saturday at 8:45 p.m. ET. The seventh-ranked Sea Gulls play the UWW-SM loser Saturday at 2:15 p.m. in an elimination game.Cortland was held to a season-low three hits and committed a season-high five errors. Red Dragon starter Mark Palumbo, however, limited Salisbury to five hits and three runs, one earned, in seven and a third innings. He struck out six and walked three and is now 8-0 on the season.
Steven Kimmelman entered in the eighth with one out, a runner on first and Cortland leading 4-3. Austin Barefoot hit a line drive that second baseman Mark DeMilio made a leaping catch on, and he threw to first to double up the runner and end the inning. Two runners reached on errors versus Kimmelman in the ninth, but he got a flyout to end the game for his fourth save of the season, three of which have come in NCAA tournament play.
Salisbury's Brett Collacchi dropped to 12-2 after giving up two hits and six walks in four innings. He allowed four runs, two earned, and struck out one. Ryan Daiss gave up only one hit and fanned three in three scoreless innings and Jon Schmedel pitched a scoreless eighth.
DeMilio started Cortland's 2-run rally in the bottom of the first with a leadoff single. He stole second and took both third and home on wild pitches. Anthony Iacomini walked on the second wild pitch and eventually scored on a Vinny Bomasuto sacrifice fly.
In the Salisbury fourth, Bobby Sanzone walked, Jordan Gowe singled and Barefoot reached on an error to load the bases with one out. Another error allowed a run to score, but Palumbo escaped further damage by getting a pop-up and a groundout.
Cortland answered with two in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Tim Panetta was hit by a pitch and went to third when Anthony Simon singled on a hit-and-run play. DeMilio's grounder to the pitcher scored Panetta and an error on a ball hit by Conrad Ziemendorf scored Simon.
In the top of the eighth, Salisbury got leadoff singles by Quinn Griffith, who finished 2-for-5, and Johnny Schiotis. Sanzone bunted the runners to second and third, and Jordan Gowe hit a ball that was misplayed to allow both runners to score. That led to Kimmelman entering the game and getting the lineout double play.