California Lutheran University escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning Friday to down Wheaton College (Mass.) 4-2 and wrap up Friday's (May 23) opening day of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis.
In Friday's other games, Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.) defeated Concordia University Chicago (Ill.), 4-2, Roanoke College (Va.) topped State University of New York Oswego, 8-7, and North Central College (Ill.) stopped University of Massachusetts Boston, 5-2.
In Saturday's (May 24) opening game at 10 a.m., Concordia Chicago (33-12) takes on Oswego State (32-10). Washington & Jefferson (39-11) faces Roanoke (34-17) at 1:15 p.m., followed by UMass Boston (37-11) against Wheaton (27-16) at 4:30 p.m. California Lutheran (36-10) now faces North Central (30-16) at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday.
California Lutheran got a fine pitching performance from starter Marshall Pautsch, who went eight-plus innings. He allowed seven hits, two runs, struck out 10 and did not walk a batter. Miguel Salud came in to pitch after Pautsch gave up a leadoff double in the ninth.
Salud allowed a walk, an infield single and a run-scoring single but also struck out the side in the ninth. Wheaton had cut the lead to two and still had the bases loaded when Salud struck out Matt Cook to end the game.
Max Weinstein and Trey Saito both collected two hits, including an extra-base hit apiece, to pace California Lutheran, which scored single runs in the first, second, sixth and eighth. Nick Raposo and Tyler Walsh both went 2-for-4 for Wheaton.
Pitcher Austin Polezoes went the distance to lead North Central to its victory over UMass Boston. Polezoes allowed four hits, two runs, struck out two and walked two.
North Central scored three times in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie. A bloop double started the decisive rally, and two runs scored on John Carmody's double before Sing Fong followed with a run-scoring single to put the Cardinals up by three.
Fong was 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs, and Nick Sotiros went 2-for-4 for North Central.
Matt Tulley allowed three hits and two runs for the Beacons, and Bobby Tramondozzi took the loss in relief.
Roanoke held off an Oswego State rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out its one-run victory. Oswego State, the top seed in the finals, was down by two runs in the ninth and had the bases loaded with one out. Zach Kollar's sacrifice fly brought home one run, but Roanoke reliever Rawlings Cumbea got Eli Holton to fly out to end the game.
Will Black went 4-for-4, drove in two runs and scored two runs to pace Roanoke's 16-hit attack. Sean Guida and Scott Ellis both went 3-for-4 for the Maroons.
Eric Hamilton went 3-for-4 with a homer, three runs batted in and two runs scored to lead Oswego State. Mike Dellicarri, John Barnes and Kyle Dinges all had two hits for the Lakers.
Sal Trancucci posted 3.1 innings of one-run relief to pick up the win for Roanoke. Cumbea notched his fifth save of the season. Tim Cronin allowed 12 hits over 5.2 innings and took the loss for Oswego State.
Roanoke led 4-2 after three innings, but Oswego State posted four runs in the bottom of the fourth to grab a 6-4 edge. The Maroons battled back with a run in the fifth on Dean Hermanson's solo homer and two more in the sixth to take a 7-6 lead. Roanoke added a big insurance run in the eighth on Hermanson's run-scoring single to go up, 8-6.
Washington & Jefferson held off Concordia Chicago 4-2 in the opening game, but not without some drama in the ninth. Concordia Chicago had the tying runs on base in the bottom of the ninth, but Derek Helbing struck out the final batter to preserve the win and pick up the save.
Nick Gatins went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in to pace Washington & Jefferson. Nick Vento was 2-for-3 with a triple and drove in a run for the Presidents. Bryan VanDuser, Doug Matthews and Kevin Garvey all had two hits for the Cougars.
Washington & Jefferson scored three times in the third to take the lead for good. The key hit in the inning was Gatins' two-run double to make it a 3-1 lead. Both teams added a single run in the fifth.
The Cougars had two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Helbing struck out pinch-hitter Jacob Frank to end the game.