SSC Teams Eliminated at Baseball Regional
The SSC's lone remaining representative saw its run at the NCAA DII South Region Baseball Championship come to an end on Sunday afternoon. Delta State downed Nova Southeastern 8-5 to end the Sharks' postseason bid.
MAY 20 RECAP
Nova Southeastern took a final loss to the No. 9 Delta State Statesman, 8-5, Sunday at the UT Baseball Field. The Sharks end their season after a repeat trip to the NCAA South Region Tournament, where the Sharks went 2-2.
In his final collegiate game, Areo Regoli, tied the record for home runs in a single season, hitting his 17th home run of the season in the first inning. Regoli sailed the ball over left field on the first strike thrown to him, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Regoli ties Bryan Cook (2008) and Ed Mackie (1993) for the NSU record.
Blake Boyd continued to have a solid tournament for the Sharks, going 2-for-3 in the game. Eric Acevedo went 1-for-3 in the game with two RBI. Shane Hill started and did not receive the decision. He held the Statesmen to six hits and two earned runs over the first five innings.
After the Sharks’ took the lead off of Regoli’s home run, the Sharks extended their lead with another run in the third inning. Brett Clements drew a leadoff walk and scored from second base on a single through the left side by Nikko Echevarria.
The Statesmen tied the game and took the lead with a run in the fourth inning and two more in the sixth. Down by a run, the Sharks reestablished their two-run lead with three in the bottom of the sixth. After two quick outs, Javi Sujo drew a four-pitch walk. Alex Marrero would plate the senior and tie the game on a single to right field. Daniel Petitbon followed up with a walk, and Acevedo drove both runners home on a double down the left field line.
The Sharks lost their two–run lead immediately, allowing three runs in the seventh inning. The Sharks had chances to answer back late, but did not score over the last few frames. NSU had the tying run on third base in both the seventh and the eighth innings. In the ninth, Delta State posted their final two runs to put the score out of reach.
Seniors Mauricio Rodriguez and Sean Tighe finished their careers by combining to pitch the last three innings, giving up just three hits.
MAY 19 RECAP
The Nova Southeastern baseball team is now the last Sunshine State Conference standing, as the Sharks eliminated the Lynn Fighting Knights from the NCAA South Region Tournament by winning 8-4 Saturday at the UT Baseball Field.
For NSU, Brett Clements had another solid postseason outing, going 1-for-3 with four RBI and two runs scored. His biggest hit came in the eighth inning, when he drove home three runs on a double down the right field line. Areo Regoli went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Javi Sujo recorded two RBI.
Cory Elasik went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in at the plate, while Kamm Washington provided some offensive punch with a 2-for-2 day and two RBI.
Vinnie Contaldi did not get the decision for NSU but pitched well in his first postseason start. After an unearned run scored in the first inning, Contaldi kept Lynn scoreless until the seventh inning. He held the opposition to six hits in 6.2 innings pitched. Mike Gonzalez earned the win by allowing only one run in 1.1 innings pitched. Sean Tighe closed the game out by holding the Fighting Knights scoreless in the ninth inning.
An error in the first helped put Lynn on top 1-0. Sharks' shortstop Blake Boyd threw a ball to second into right field, allowing Mike Diorio to reach third base. Elasik then drove home the first run of the game with a squeeze bunt down the first base line.
The Sharks went scoreless until the fifth frame, when the Sharks took the lead with a pair of runs. Clements led off by reaching base on balls and was bunted over by Boyd. Clements advanced to third base and crossed home on two wild pitches. The Sharks took the lead when Nikko Echevarria reached on a walk and was plated on Regoli’s second triple of the season.
NSU increased their lead to two runs by scoring again in the sixth inning. Alex Marrero, who made his first-career postseason start, led off with a single through the right side. Marrero advanced to third after a groundout and a fielders choice, setting up Clements’ first RBI on a groundout to the shortstop.
With Lynn’s back against the wall, Washington came through in the clutch in the seventh, lacing a two-out, two-run triple to left center field in an 11-pitch pinch-hit at bat to knot the game at 3-3.
Lynn’s offensive momentum carried over into the eighth when Diorio led off with a double. Elasik stepped to the plate once again and drove a 0-2 change-up into right center field to put LU on top 4-3.
With their season on the line in the bottom of the eighth, the Sharks had their biggest inning of the weekend and scored five runs. Marrero and Daniel Petitbon each took one for the team as they both were hit by a pitch. Eric Acevedo moved the runners over and reached base on a bunt single towards third base.
With the bases loaded, Clements swung on the first pitch he saw and sent all runners home on his big double. With no outs on the board, Carlos Asuaje laid down the sacrifice bunt to move over Clements and set up an intentional walk for Regoli. Sujo drove home the Sharks’ last two runs with a single to shallow centerfield. Tighe closed out the game, striking out one batter in the ninth.
MAY 18 RECAP
The long wait to begin play in the NCAA Tournament ended for Lynn’s baseball team on Friday, a day after the team's anticipated first-round game. Unfortunately, once play began, the third-seeded Fighting Knights fell 2-0 to No. 6 seed Alabama-Huntsivlle. Shawn Kale fanned seven batters in six innings of work, giving him 109 strikeouts on the season, the third most in program history.
Kale ran into some trouble to start the game, loading the bases with two out, but go out of the jam with an inning-ending fly ball to left field.
The Fighting Knights offense sputtered against UAH starter Drew Eiland, whom they tagged for seven runs in their first meeting earlier in the year. Eiland struck out six batters and scattered eight hits.
Lynn had an opportunity to go up 1-0 in the fourth as Cory Elasik singled to open the inning before stealing second for his 21st swipe of the season. With Elasik on third and one out, LU was not able to bring him home.
Alabama-Huntsville took advantage of an error in the sixth to score its first run and added another run in the seventh when the Fighting Knights opened the frame by hitting Mike Love and later loaded the bases.
Joe Perrotta ended the threat with a ground out and strikeout but the Chargers went up 2-0.
In the second game of the day, the nation's top team and tournament host Tampa took a stunning early exit with a 7-4 loss to fourth-seeded West Florida.
The host Spartans faced an early 4-0 deficit as the Argonauts crossed three first-inning runs and one in the second. UWF extended its advantage to 7-0 with three in the top of the fourth.
Tampa responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth frame. Andrew Jones would score the first UT run of the game following a lead-off double as the other two runs came on a two-run double by Heath Pritchard.
The only other run the Spartans were able to score came on a solo home run by Eric Grabe in the seventh inning. The round-tripper went down as the first long-ball of the regional, coming in the sixth game of competition. Grabe and Pritchard both had two hits to lead Tampa at the plate.
Sunshine State Conference and Daktronics South Region Pitcher of the Year Sean Bierman started for the Spartans, taking the loss following 4.0 innings of work. Justin Leith entered in relief as the senior lefty threw 5.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Playing its second game of the day in an attempt to keep its season alive, third-seeded Lynn eliminated seventh-seeded North Alabama 10-4 on Friday afternoon. The Fighting Knights got home runs from Anthony Boza and Jason Matusik, another three runs batted in by Eric Herrera and an eight strikeout performance from Ryan Gibbard on the mound.
Boza snapped a 11-inning postseason scoreless drought in the third inning when he smashed his 14th home run of the year, a two-run blast to put LU ahead 2-0. Two base hits to start the fourth chased North Alabama starter Johnny Hornbuckle from the game. After looking at the first two pitches from reliever Brantley Claunch, Matusik launched a 1-1 fastball over the fence in left field, giving Lynn a 5-0 lead.
Gibbard cruised through much of the game, stifling the Lions’ bats at every turn. The junior right-handers' lone mistake came in the fifth when he left a first-pitch fastball over the plate to J.P. LaMunyon for a solo home run. Gibbard struck out at least one batter in every inning to pick up his seventh win on the hill.
Lynn added some cushion in the seventh with a hustle play by Cory Elasik. With runners on the corners and one out, Elasik hit a sharp ground ball to third but went down on the play with a cramp. Lions’ third baseman Andrew Almon threw out Boza at second but the throw from second baseman Michael Schmidt was mishandled by first baseman Josh Cyr. Elasik picked himself off the turf and limped to first safely to score Mike Diorio. Two batters later Herrera doubled home Kamm Washington to make it 7-1.
North Alabama attempted a rally in the eighth following Gibbard’s departure, scoring two off a two-run home run by Jake Sloan. Andre Colon entered with two runners on and surrendered a RBI double but struck out Drew Parker to end the threat.
Herrera halted the Lions momentum in the ninth, though, with a two-run single before chugging across the diamond on Paul Stortini’s double to put the Fighting Knights on top 10-4. Colon pitched himself out of another jam in the ninth to pick up his eighth save of the year.
In game #7, fifth-seeded Nova Southeastern fell to the eighth-seeded Stillman Tigers 6-4.
Ray Navarro and Blake Boyd each went 2-for-4 in the contest. Navarro recorded one run while Boyd earned a RBI. Nikko Echevarria and Javi Sujo also had multiple-hit games against the Tigers. Echevarria scored the game’s first run while Sujo drove in one run.
The Sharks fell into an early hole against the upstart eighth seed, but had plenty of opportunities to rally throughout the game. The first opportunity came in the first inning, when the Sharks loaded the bases with one out. Sujo drove home Echevarria from third base on a single to left field. The Sharks went on to strand three runners on base after two straight fly balls.
The Sharks and Tigers traded runs in the second inning, with Navarro reaching base on a single and advancing three bases on two errors. Stillman took their lead with a four-run third inning. The Tigers loaded up the bases, with two out of three runners reaching base on a bunt attempt. After the Sharks walked in the tying run, Jarius Brown recorded the hit of the game, a three-run double.
Mauricio Rodriguez entered the game after the double with no outs on the board and retired the next three batters. Rodriguez would go on to pitch six innings and hold the Tigers to one run, which came in the sixth inning. Rodriguez struck out three batters and held the Tigers to five hits.
The Sharks had at least one runner in scoring position in four of the next six innings, but could only convert them into two runs. The Sharks scored a run in the sixth inning when Brett Clements led off with a walk. Boyd would score him from third base on a double to left field. The Sharks scored again in the ninth inning, as Areo Regoli hit a double to right centerfield. Two at bats later, Sujo hit a line drive that went through the glove of the second baseman, scoring Regoli from second.
The Sharks had the tying run come to the plate multiple times down the stretch of the game, including the final at bat. In the end, the Sharks left 11 runners on base. Stillman ace Josh Cagle earned the win by throwing 140 pitches over eight innings.
MAY 17 RECAP
Fifth-seeded Nova Southeastern downed fourth-seeded West Florida 5-2 on a sixth-inning rally, scoring four of their five runs in that frame. In the meantime, Zachary Westcott turned in a solid performance in his postseason debut. Westcott earned the win by throwing seven shutout innings before allowing one run in the eighth. He gave up six hits and three walks. Westcott struck out two batters and threw 112 pitches before being relieved by Mike Gonzalez, who closed the game.
Blake Boyd went 2-for-3 in the contest with two RBI and a run scored. Javi Sujo recorded two hits with a run scored and reached base in three out of five plate appearances.
It was a pitching duel from the start, as the game was scoreless through the first five innings. During that span, the Sharks were held to one hit. Areo Regoli started the sixth-inning rally with a single to right centerfield. Sujo followed up with a single of his own, before Daniel Petitbon moved both runners over on a sacrifice bunt. Chris Morales drove home the first run of the game on a single to left field. The Sharks never trailed after taking the lead. Brett Clements recorded a sacrifice, plating Sujo, and was followed up by a double to left field from Ray Navarro. Boyd capped off the side with two RBI on a single up the middle.
West Florida posted a run in the eighth inning, but the Sharks answered back with their last run in the ninth inning. Boyd recorded a leadoff single through the right side and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Carlos Asuaje drove him home on a single through the right side.
No. 8 Stillman pulled off a big upset in the second game of the tournament, taking down No. 1 Tampa 6-5 in a 13-inning marathon.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the first inning as Dion Bryant singled up the middle and scored when Paul Winterbottom singled to center field. Tampa would answer in the bottom of the frame when Damon Elder scored on a bases-loaded walk to tie things at 1-1.
Stillman would score again in the top of the second and third innings. In the second, T.J. Rock scored on a Casey Hall sacrifice bunt. In the third, Jarius Brown singled to reach base. Two batters later, Winterbottom would steal second as Brown stole home, giving Stillman a 3-1 lead.
Tampa would score a run in the bottom of the third inning, cutting the lead to 3-2 in favor of Stillman. Stillman would widen the scoring margin in the top of the fifth. Brown would score on a throwing error, and McCreless would double to score Landon Wilson, putting the Tigers ahead 5-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tampa would score two runs to cut the deficit to 5-4. Eric Grabe would double before Heath Pritchard would single to right field two batters later, scoring the leadoff hitter. After a pitching change for Stillman, Tiger pitcher Tyler Colvert would get a strikeout before a Shane Rowland groundout would score B.J. Zimmerman.
In the bottom of the ninth, Stillman would get two outs and would have two strikes on the batter before Tyler Ding would triple to right center field, just outside of the reach of a diving Bryant. The hit would score Grabe, who walked to open the inning, and tie the tally at 5-5.
In the tenth and 11th innings, both teams would get base runners, but neither score could push runners across the plate. By the time the 12th inning had concluded, Stillman had stranded 12 runners while Tampa had left 13 men on base. With a 1-2 count in the top of the 13th inning, Stillman got a one walk from Seth Booth and Bryant would reach on a fielder’s choice. Brown was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. With a 1-2 count, Winterbottom would single to left field scoring Bryant for what proved to be the winning run.
Three SSC teams received bids to participate in the NCAA Division II Baseball South Region Championship, which will be hosted by top-seeded Tampa May 17-21. The Spartans will be joined by Lynn and Nova Southeastern in the field.
The South Region is the only one which received eight bids. Six other regions will field six participating teams, and the West Region will feature four teams.
Tampa will open against No. 8 Stillman. No. 2 Delta State will face No. 7 North Alabama. Third-seeded Lynn will tackle No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville. No. 4 and defending national champion West Florida will square off with No. 5 Nova Southeastern.
All regionals are double-elimination tournaments and will be played May 17-21. Regional champions will advance to the double-elimination championship finals May 26-June 2 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The finals will be hosted by Mount Olive and the town of Cary, N.C.
2012 NCAA DII SOUTH REGION BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Game 1: No. 5 Nova Southeastern 5, No. 4 West Florida 2
Game 2: No. 8 Stillman 6, No. 1 Tampa 5 (13)
Game 3: No. 2 Delta State 2, No. 7 North Alabama 0
Friday, May 18, 2012
Game 4: No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville 2, No. 3 Lynn 0
Game 5: No. 4 West Florida 7, No. 1 Tampa 4
Game 6: No. 3 Lynn 10, No. 7 North Alabama 4
Game 7: No. 8 Stillman 6, No. 5 Nova Southeastern 4
Game 8: No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville 6, No. 2 Delta State 5
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Game 9: No. 5 Nova Southeastern 8, No. 3 Lynn 4
Game 10: No. 2 Delta State 11, No. 4 West Florida 3
Game 11: No. 8 Stillman 11, No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville 5
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Game 12: No. 2 Delta State 8, No. 5 Nova Southeastern 5
Game 13: No. 2 Delta State 7, No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville 6 (10)
Monday, May 21, 2012
Game 14: No. 8 Stillman vs. No. 2 Delta State, 12 p.m.
Game 15: Same as Game 14 (if necessary), 3:15 p.m.