ADRIAN, Mich.--The second day of the 2018 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship is under way at the Mideast Regional hosted by Adrian College. Friday's action includes four more games, including two teams that will be eliminated from the tournament.
Mideast Regional seedings at Adrian College: No. 1 Wooster (36-8), No. 2 Otterbein (30-14), No. 3 La Roche (34-8-1), No. 4 Marietta (27-16), No. 5 Shenandoah (34-10), No. 6 Ithaca (28-15), No. 7 Adrian (33-10) and No. 8 Wabash (28-15). (Records are entering the NCAA Tournament.)
It was an old-fashioned pitchers' duel to open up the first game on elimination day at Nicolay Field in the Mideast Regional of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. Wabash College, behind the efforts of Cody Cochran, hold the Marietta Pioneers scoreless through seven and two-thirds to survive and advance in the double-elimination tournament.
"It was a great game," said Wabash coach Jake Martin. "Cody did a really nice job limiting base as and was always working ahead."
Cochran would go 7.2 innings giving up two runs on five hits and struck out seven.
Both pitchers, Cochran and Scott Oberhelman of Marietta, were dominant through four innings before the Little Giants reached Oberhelman. Sean Roginski led off the inning with a double. The high fly ball to left fell in between three Pioneers in what seemed like a routine play. Following the fluke hit, coach Brian Brewer emerged from the dugout to relieve his starter. Oberhelman finished in four innings, allowing one run on five hits and striking out four.
Wabash jumped on three Marietta relievers before the damage was done in the fifth. Andrew Jumonville knocked in Roginski with a single to right. A Jackson Blevins sacrifice fly scored a run followed by a Matthew Annee double that scored Jumonville. Eric Chavez doubled to center to score Annee all before the Pioneers could get out of the inning.
Cochran would cruise through seven and two thirds before making way for the Wabash all-time saves leader in Zach Moffett. Moffett inherited a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the eighth. Damian Yenzi came through for the Pioneers in the situation, singling sharply back up the middle to score a run. Moffett then would hit Mike Hale with the second pitch in the at-bat to score one more run. Moffett was able to strikeout Connor Golden to end the inning with no further damage.
Moffett would come out to finish the game and earn the save. Wabash will advance to face the loser of the Adrian College, La Roche College winner's bracket game.
"We feel no pressure," said Martin. "We talk all the time about just going 1-0, this team plays well when they are confident and loose."
Marietta finishes their season 27-18.
Game 6: Ithaca def. Otterbein, 5-4/12 innings (Cardinals eliminated)
The second and final elimination game of Thursday afternoon was a battle to the end between Otterbein University and Ithaca College. Ithaca edged Otterbein after 12 innings in walk-off fashion when Web Little beat out an infield groundball that scored Andrew Wollner with the winning run.
"Every single pitch I got was up and in," said Little. "I got lucky it hit the mound and it worked out for us."
Ithaca's Emmett Dunn struggled early getting knocked out by the Cardinals after just an inning and two-thirds. Otterbein scored in the top of the first when Tyler Thompson scored on a balk by Dunn. On the next at bat, Bryan Stopar scored when Connor Brett forced a throwing error by the Bomber third baseman.
"That was the beauty of baseball," said Mitch Stotler. "When something goes wrong the day before you can come back and play again the next day."
The Cardinals pushed across their third run of the game in the second inning when Stopar singled to left scoring Ben Beachy. After the run, Ithaca coach George Valesente went to his bullpen, putting the ball in the hands of Tyler Hill. Hill shut down the Cardinals for 5.1 innings before giving way to Jack Morello who would see out the game.
"I was a little nervous coming out," said Hill. "I just wanted to be a Bulldog and wanted to keep my team in the game."
The Bombers pushed their runs across in the bottom of both the second and the third. Domenic Boresta's two-out double scored two runs to bring the defecit to one. In the third, Sam Little singled up the middle scoring his twin brother Web Little. That was all the action until the ninth inning. With two-outs in the bottom half of the inning, Sam Little tripled, but Matt Carey grounded out to the shortstop Beachy to end the inning.
As the game headed to extras, Otterbein was able to get a man on second in the tenth, but Morello extinguished the threat by getting pinch hitter Dimitri Collaros to groundout to short. Otterbein scored first in extra innings when Mitch Stotler tripled to lead off the inning, then Ben Beachy singled him in.
"We kept fighting hard," said Bryan Stoper. "When things don't fall our way we kept coming back and kept battling."
Ithaca answered to kept their season alive when Carey singled up the middle to score W. Little. The Bombers then won the game in the bottom of the 12th.
"We felt that we could get back in the ball game with our pitching," said Valesente. "I am very happy that our pitching staff and our defense could keep us in this game."
Ithaca will advance to face the loser of the Shenandoah University and College Of Wooster game.
Otterbein bows out of the regional championship with a 30-16 record.
In the first winner's bracket game of the day College of Wooster over-powered lower-seeded Shenandoah with a 13-5 victory. Wooster was led offensively by Michael Wielansky who went three for six and Harrison Walls who knocked in four RBIs. Shenandoah was led offensively by Henry Delavergne and Chase Smallwood who each had two hits. Delavergne added an RBI and Smallwood had a pair.
Wooster opened up the scoring in the second inning when Walls reached on a fielder's choice scoring Dan Harwood. Shenandoah answered in the bottom half of the inning when Smallwood grounded out but scored Keegan Woolford who lead off the inning with a double. The Hornets continued in the bottom half of the inning when Delavergne singled to center scoring Nicke Goode.
The Old Dominican Athletic Conference at-large bid added to their lead in the bottom of the third when Smallwood singled up the middle allowing Luke Nusman to score. Goode's double to right center pushed across Smallwood to make it a 4-1 game.
Wooster began to edge away at the lead in the top of the fourth when Walls doubled to left center allowing Wielansky to score. Wooster continued to chip away in the fifth inning when Harry Witwer-Dukes scored on a Wielansky single.
Wooster finally took the lead in the sixth inning when they put up four runs on two hits. Walls doubed to left center again to score Garrett Crum. Walls then scored when Drew Tornow laid down a bunt that was thrown away. Tornow ended up on third and later scored on a wild pitch. Chandler Dippman was able to draw a walk and then eventually came around to score thanks to wild pitches.
Wooster added to their lead in the seventh inning when Wielansky scored on a Crum sacrifice fly. Walls followed it up with a single to center that allowed Harwood to score as well.
Shenandoah got one back in the bottom of the eighth when a double play allowed Delavergne to score.
Wooster patted their lead in their last at-bats. After loading the bases, Shenandoah walked in three runs including Harwood, Kaplan and Tornow and then added one more to make it an eight run difference.
Game 8: Adrian vs La Roche postponed until the following morning.
--Sean Cain '18