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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | June 1, 2017

DII Baseball Championship: four remain in Grand Prairie

  UC San Diego, St. Thomas Aquinas, West Chester and Colorado Mesa are all that remain in Grand Prairie

And then there were four.

Eight teams came to Grand Prairie with hopes of bringing home the Division II Baseball Championship trophy. Half the field is left chasing that dream.

DII Baseball Championship

Who’s left?

UC SAN DIEGO TRITONS

Head coach: Eric Newman

Tournament record: 2-1

How they got here: Lost a heart-breaking 12-inning opener to St. Thomas Aquinas 6-5. Came back with a six-run fourth inning to defeat Quincy 10-8. Eliminated Lindenwood behind a dominating 10-4 victory on Wednesday.

Who’s hot: The top of the order has delivered for the Tritons. Jack Larsen has two four-hit games. Brandon Shirley has delivered two huge two-RBI doubles. Tyler Durna has seven hits, including a four-hit performance in Wednesday’s victory. Kyle Lucke was impressive out of the pen, and Jack Rupe, Jr. threw an inspiring seven innings when the Tritons needed it most.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS SPARTANS

Head coach: Scott Muscat

Tournament record: 2-0

How they got here: Defeated UC San Diego in an extra-inning thriller 6-5 in game one. Again went to extra innings in game two, taking Colorado Mesa to the 10th in a 3-2 win.

Who’s hot: The starting pitching has been lights out as Frankie Moscatiello threw a dandy in game one, followed by Chris Cepeda’s 6.2 innings of zero earned runs on Tuesday. Giovanni Dingcong has been an absolute monster at the plate, crushing a home run in game one, and registering three-hits in each game so far.

WEST CHESTER GOLDEN RAMS

Head coach: Jad Prachniak

Tournament record: 2-0 

How they got here: WCU won 9-4 in the opening game of the Championship. It then defeated Lindenwood 5-2 in game two.

Who’s hot: Both starting pitchers (Jon Fisher in game one and Mike Cipolla in game two) tossed quality starts. Jared Melone has four hits, including a game-changing grand slam in game one. Nick Ward has three hits, four runs and an RBI, but has been dazzling in the field, making web gem after web gem.

COLORADO MESA MAVERICKS

Head coach: Chris Hanks

Tournament record: 2-1

How they got here: Had an opening 10-3 victory against Quincy, but fell to St. Thomas Aquinas 3-2 in game two behind a 10-inning pitcher’s duel. Bounced back Wednesday to send Delta State home, winning 6-2.

Who’s hot: Chris Ramirez tossed a complete game against a powerful Delta State lineup to keep the Mavericks alive. Kevan Elcock had a monster three-run shot to ice the game against Delta and has four hits in the last two games. Kyle Serrano has been a force behind the plate, including being the back-end of back-to-back home runs with fellow slugger Bligh Madris in the game one win.

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