CARY, NC — Eight days from the USA Baseball National Training Complex came to a thrilling end with Tampa winning the 2019 DII baseball championship. It was the Spartan’s eighth national title, defeating Colorado Mesa 3-1.
Two DII powerhouses went to work in the championship game on Saturday. Tampa’s Keven Pimentel and Mesa’s Trevin Reynolds went head to head on the mound as both teams battled through light showers, a theme of the final few days in Cary. The two matched zeroes for five innings, barely running into trouble. When Colorado Mesa broke through in the top of the sixth with a run, Mr. Big Hit Cole Perry came through again in the bottom half, tying the game.
Yorvis Torrealba struggled mightily in Game 1. The SSC player of the year went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. That was when the rally chicken was brought into the picture, and Torrealba, and Tampa’s, fortunes quickly changed. Torrealba delivered the decisive blow, with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. Jacinto Arredondo, who picked up two wins and a save out of the bullpen for Tampa, took care of the rest.
"That's the reason we all come to Tampa," Torrealba said. "To be part of history. We come out here to win that national championship and have our name in the record book."
Saturday may be Tampa's day in the sun after sweeping its way to yet another championship, but there were eight great teams who played eight great days of DII baseball.
Eight days is a lot of baseball. Central Missouri began it’s run to the national semifinals in the first game of the championship last Saturday. The Mules took down Ashland 9-4 as Harrison Schnurbusch began his all-out assault on pitchers in Cary. In fact, the entire top of the Mules’ lineup was raking until Colorado Mesa’s Will Dixon found a way to silence them in the ‘if necessary’ game of the semifinals.
Mercyhurst also made a memorable run, reaching the semifinals for the first time in program history. Surprisingly, the Lakers did it behind the unlikeliest power in the field. Mercyhurst, who entered the championship tied for the least home runs in the field, slugged four, led by first baseman Matthew Schneider’s two monster shots. The Lakers made an impressive run after falling to Tampa in the first game, surviving two elimination games before succumbing to Tampa once more.
It was a much different experience than last year’s two and out for Mercyhurst.
“It’s a big sigh of relief for me,” Schneider said. “Just to compete better and play better baseball. Last year we didn’t put everything together, we kind of struggled. This year we have a lot of talent and a lot of depth. It’s nice to get that win.”
Two Lakers pitchers — Matt Minnick and Tyler Garbee — highlighted a group of ten players selected in the MLB draft while playing in Cary. Tampa had the most in the field with four drafted, two of which would play the hero three days later in the title-clinching game.
2019 MLB DRAFT: See all the DII players selected
Tampa’s run to the finals was the easiest route traveled. It took the Spartans a little bit to get going, as the Garbee held Tampa scoreless through eight in the opener. A big hit from Cole Perry would ignite the Tampa offense as the Spartans won the next two games handily.
Colorado Mesa’s run to the finals was a little trickier. The Mavericks three battles with Central Missouri were amongst the best in Cary. Colorado Mesa took two of three from the Mules, with both wins decided by one-run. Senior closer Will Dixon’s complete game shutout — yes, you read that correctly — was the single best pitching performance of the championship.
Tampa closes out the season on an 11-game winning streak, going perfect in the regional, Super Regional, and then finally here in Cary. After all, that's simply the Tampa Way.
"To be remembered as a Spartan, you have to win a national championship," head coach Joe Urso said, who picked up his DII-best fifth title, and sixth overall with Tampa, winning one as a player. "No one remembers who was runner-up. That's how big this is for our program. That's what we talk about the first day we recruit these guys."
For the eighth time in the program’s history, Tampa is your national champions. A tip of the cap to this young Colorado Mesa team, one you can be sure you will hear from again next year. The Spartans are your 2019 DII baseball champions. Relive the highlights in the blog below.
2019 DII baseball championship: Live updates
Follow below, as we will be bringing you live updates on all the action from Cary in our blog.
2019 DII baseball championship: Schedule and scores
Be sure to get caught up on all of Thursday's action in the recap below.
2019 DII baseball tournament: Brackets, results from regionals and Super Regionals
Fifty-six teams entered the 2019 DII baseball championship, and only eight remain. Of those 56 teams, 23 earned an automatic bid by winning their respective conferences. We tracked every conference championship here.
Those 56 teams battled first in regional action, with 16 teams advancing to the first-ever DII baseball Super Regionals. When the final eight teams were decided for Cary, the selection committee assigned seeds for the finals.
- No. 1: Colorado Mesa (South Central)
- No. 2: Tampa (South)
- No. 3: Catawba (Southeast)
- No. 4: Ashland (Midwest)
- No. 5: Central Missouri (Central)
- No. 6: UC San Diego (West)
- No. 7: Mercyhurst (Atlantic)
- No. 8: NYIT (East)
2019 DII baseball championship: Triple-header Thursday
Two semifinal games were set to start the day, but with impending storms coming on Friday, we were treated to free baseball. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Both semifinal games were rematches. Central Missouri squared off against Colorado Mesa in Game 1 of the day, looking to atone for its heartbreaking 6-5 loss two days ago. Much like that game, no lead was safe. On Monday, Colorado Mesa jumped out to an early 5-1 lead only to have to Mules fight back. Today, it was Central Missouri’s turn.
The story for Central Missouri all week has been the top of the order. Mason Janvrin starts the engine in the leadoff spot and the No. 2 through No. 6 hitters seemingly come through every time. Nothing changed on Thursday. One day after going a combined 13-for-19, Erik Webb, Harrison Schnurbusch, Josh Schumacher, and Michael Sinks combined to go 9-for-13 in the heart of the lineup once again, driving in four of the Mules runs.
Colorado Mesa’s first big hit came off perhaps the least suspecting bat. Matt Turner, who had yet to make a start in Cary, delivered a big two-RBI single to get the Mavericks back in it. Central Missouri’s Jonathan Sprinkle dashed any hopes of a comeback, coming in to face bases loaded in the ninth with just one out, and getting out of the jam.
The Mules forced the first if necessary game of the tournament, set for Friday morning. Or so we thought. Those storms pushed the game to Thursday night, setting up a triple-header. But first, we had another semifinal to worry about and another rematch.
Mercyhurst had Tampa on the ropes in the first game, the No. 7 seed Lakers held a 2-0 lead until the eighth inning. Cole Perry delivered the blow, driving in three in the eighth inning. Tampa didn’t waste any time getting out in front of Mercyhurst on Thursday.
Yorvis Torrealba stayed hot, but so was the entire Spartan lineup. Torrealba batted in each of the first four innings if that gives you a sense of how many base runners the Spartans had in the early goings. A pair of RBI triples — the first by Nick Derr and then one by Danny Sirven — highlighted a 10-run outburst over the first three innings.
FINAL || UT WINS 12-0:— Tampa Baseball (@UT_Baseball) June 6, 2019
The Spartans rout the Mercyhurst Lakers, scoring ten runs in the first three innings. Tampa advances to the 2019 NCAA DII National Championship, seeking their eighth title in program history. #TampaBaseball #StandAsOne pic.twitter.com/2kwmQvUGzB
Sammy Peralta, drafted in the 18th round of the MLB Draft just one day prior, pitched five of the most dominating innings of the tournament so far. It wasn't just the numbers, but how he did it. He was throwing darts, lighting up the radar gun with low-90s heat, but only to set up his breaking ball which was responsible for six of his nine strikeouts. All in his first start of the season. Not too shabby.
“I just try to throw strikes,” Peralta said holding the now-famous rally chicken. “My go-to pitch is my curveball. I just try to stay in the zone. The lead helped me a lot, get ground outs and get out of it quick.”
Tampa clinched the first spot in the finals, with a 12-0 victory over Mercyhurst. The Lakers finish with 37 wins and reached the first semifinals in program history.
“It means everything to our program,” head coach Joe Spano said. “For baseball in Northwest Pennsylvania, the parents get the kids in the gym in January, shoveling and plowing fields, just the sacrifices everyone makes from the Region to make it this far has been unbelievable.”
FINAL: Colorado Mesa's Will Dixon pitches a gem and sends the Mavericks to the #D2Baseball Championship series on Saturday against Tampa. Current game time is slated for 3:00 p.m. ET.#MakeItYours pic.twitter.com/2mWC6kGrNg— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) June 7, 2019
Central Missouri and Colorado Mesa Part III was the ultimate pitching duel of the tournament. Will Dixon, who set the program record by picking up his 16th save of the season against Central Missouri on Monday, made the first start of his career in the biggest game of the Mavericks season. He delivered, tossing a complete game shutout.
The Mules Ben Kelsch answered, matching zeroes for six innings. Kelsch, who earned the first win of the tournament with a bulldog effort last Saturday against Ashland, went seven innings altogether, allowing six hits, 1 walk and striking out three while allowing just one run.
That lone run, which came on a sacrifice fly from Trevin Reynolds, was all the Mavericks needed. Central Missouri, who played in some of the closest and toughest games of the tournament, saw its season come to a close, winners of 46 games and the Central Region champs. Colorado Mesa moves on to the finals to meet Tampa on Saturday.
Be sure to relive the highlights from the semifinals in the blog below.
2019 DII baseball championship: History
Augustana (SD) was the 2018 national championship. The Vikings hopes for a repeat came to an end against Central Missouri in the Super Regionals. Below is a complete list of every DII baseball national champion.
|2019||Tampa||Joe Urso||3-1||Colorado Mesa||Cary, N.C.|
|2018||*Augustana (SD) (52-9)||Tim Huber||3-2||Columbus State||Cary, N.C.|
|2017||*West Chester (44-11)||Jad Prachniak||5-2||UC San Diego||Grand Prairie, Texas|
|2016||*Nova Southeastern (44-16)||Greg Brown||8-6||Millersville||Cary, N.C.|
|2015||Tampa (43-13)||Joe Urso||3-1||Catawba||Cary, N.C.|
|2014||Southern Indiana (49-13)||Tracy Archuleta||3-2 (12)||Colorado Mesa||Cary, N.C.|
|2013||Tampa (47-12)||Joe Urso||8-2||Minn. St.-Mankato||Cary, N.C.|
|2012||West Chester (46-10)||Jad Prachniak||9-0||Delta State||Cary, N.C.|
|2011||West Florida (52-9)||Mike Jeffcoat||12-2||Winona State||Cary, N.C.|
|2010||Southern Indiana (52-14)||Tracy Archuleta||6-4||UC San Diego||Cary, N.C.|
|2009||Lynn (46-16)||Rudy Garbalosa||2-1||Emporia State||Cary, N.C.|
|2008||*Mount Olive (58-6)||Carl Lancaster||6-2||Ouachita Baptist||Sauget, Ill.|
|2007||*Tampa (53-10)||Joe Urso||7-2||Columbus State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|2006||*Tampa (54-6)||Joe Urso||3-2 (12)||Chico State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|2005||Florida Southern (51-11)||Pete Meyer||12-9||North Florida||Montgomery, Ala.|
|2004||Delta State (54-11)||Mike Kinnison||12-8||Grand Valley State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|2003||Central Missouri (51-7||Brad Hill||11-4||Tampa||Montgomery, Ala.|
|2002||Columbus State (48-15)||Greg Appleton||5-3||Chico State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|2001||St. Mary's (Texas) (50-13)||Charlie Migl||11-3||Central Missouri||Montgomery, Ala.|
|2000||*Southeastern Oklahoma (43-12)||Mike Metheny||7-2||Fort Hays State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1999||Chico State (50-17)||Lindsay Meggs||11-5||Kennesaw State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1998||*Tampa (46-14)||Terry Rupp||6-1||Kennesaw State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1997||*Chico State (52-11)||Lindsay Meggs||13-12||Central Oklahoma||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1996||*Kennesaw State (48-17)||Mike Sansing||4-0||St. Joseph's (Ind.)||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1995||*Florida Southern (51-10)||Chuck Anderson||15-0||Georiga College||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1994||Central Missouri (51-11)||Dave Van Horn||14-9||Florida Southern||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1993||*Tampa (43-21)||Lelo Prado||7-5||#Cal Poly||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1992||Tampa (42-19)||Lelo Prado||11-8||Mansfield||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1991||Jacksonville State (41-12)||Rudy Abbott||20-4||Missouri Southern State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1990||Jacksonville State (43-9)||Rudy Abbott||12-8||Cal State Northridge||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1989||#Cal Poly (38-25)||Steve McFarland||9-5||New Haven||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1988||*Florida Southern (48-10)||Chuck Anderson||5-4 (10)||Cal State Sacramento||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1987||*Troy (38-10-1)||Chase Riddle||7-5||Tampa||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1986||Troy (46-8)||Chase Riddle||5-0||Columbus State||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1985||*Florida Southern (48-10)||Chuck Anderson||15-5||Cal Poly Pomona||Montgomery, Ala.|
|1984||Cal State Northridge (46-21-1)||Bib Hiegert||10-5||Florida Southern||Riverside, Calif.|
|1983||*Cal Poly Pomona (41-22)||John Scolinos||9-7||Jacksonville State||Riverside, Calif.|
|1982||*UC Riverside (36-23)||Jack Smitheran||10-1||Florida Southern||Riverside, Calif.|
|1981||*Florida Southern (55-8)||Joe Arnold||9-0||Eastern Illinois||Riverside, Calif.|
|1980||*Cal Poly Pomona (42-25-1)||John Scolinos||13-6||New Haven||Riverside, Calif.|
|1979||Valdosta State (47-14)||Tommy Thomas||3-2||Florida Southern||Springfield, Ill.|
|1978||Florida Southern (41-8)||Joe Arnold||7-2||Delta State||Springfield, Ill.|
|1977||UC Riverside (43-19)||Jack Smitheran||4-1||Eckerd||Springfield, Ill.|
|1976||Cal Poly Pomona (40-27-1)||John Scolinos||17-3||SIU-Edwardsville||Springfield, Ill.|
|1975||Florida Southern (35-10)||Hal Smeltzly||10-7||Marietta||Springfield, Ill.|
|1974||UC Irvine (48-8)||Gary Adams||14-1||New Orleans||Springfield, Ill.|
|1973||*UC Irvine (44-12)||Gary Adams||9-6||Ithaca||Springfield, Ill.|
|1972||Florida Southern (31-6)||Hal Smeltzly||5-1||Cal State Northridge||Springfield, Ill.|
|1971||Florida Southern (34-4)||Hal Smeltzly||4-0||Central Michigan||Springfield, Mo.|
|1970||Cal State Northridge (41-21)||Bob Hiegert||2-1||Nicholls State||Springfield, Mo.|
|1969||*Illinois State (33-5)||Duffy Bass||12-0||Missouri State||Springfield, Mo.|
|1968||*Chapman (35-18)||Paul Deese||11-0||Delta State||Springfield, Mo.|
*Indicates undefeated teams in final series
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