Towson, W&M Win Opening NCAA Baseball Games
Towson and William & Mary posted victories on the opening day of the NCAA Baseball Regionals, while UNCW suffered a narrow setback.
Towson 7, Florida Atlantic 2
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Senior righthander Mike Volpe earned his tenth victory of the season and senior catcher Andrew Parker blasted a monstrous three-run homer as Towson University (30-28) continued its magical post-season with a 7-2 victory over No. 23 Florida Atlantic (39-21) in the first round of the NCAA Regional Tournament at Boshamer Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Volpe, who pitched the Tigers into the NCAA Tournament last Saturday with a 5-2 win over William & Mary in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game, pitched seven very strong innings as the Tigers ended Florida Atlantic’s 11-game winning streak.
Volpe, who has a 3-0 record in the post-season, scattered four hits and allowed one unearned run with two walks and four strikeouts as he improved his record to 10-3 on the season. After issuing a leadoff walk to senior centerfielder Nathan Pittman in the eighth inning, he turned the game over to the bullpen. Junior righthander Nik Nowottnick finished the game with a flourish, striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Parker, who went one-for-four in the game, helped the Tigers offensively and defensively. He highlighted the Tigers’ five-run sixth inning with a three-run homer to left. He also threw out a runner trying to steal and ended a Florida Atlantic rally by picking off Mark Nelson with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
“It is so great to be back in this environment,” said Towson Coach Mike Gottlieb, who guided the Tigers to their first regional appearance since 1991. “It is quite rewarding and I am so thrilled that these guys have the opportunity to experience this.”
The win over Florida Atlantic marked the first time in three NCAA regional tournaments that the Tigers won their opening game. Towson will play their second NCAA regional contest on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. against host North Carolina.
“When you can get a pitching performance like we received from Mike (Volpe), you have a great chance to win,” added Gottlieb. “Obviously, the sixth inning was the turning point in the game. Up until that point, we had been struggling with the bats. But, we turned it around in the sixth inning and gave ourselves a nice lead.”
The Tigers’ first NCAA regional game in 22 years started off as a pitcher’s duel between Volpe and righthander Jeremy Strawn. Strawn shut out the Tigers on two hits through the first three innings before the Owls threatened in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Pittman drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to start the rally. Junior leftfielder Geoff Jiminez reached base on an infield single to shortstop to give the Owls two runners on base with one out. After a prolonged at-bat, Nelson was retired on a fly ball to right as Pittman advanced to third base. With Jiminez on first base and Pittman on third, the Owls tried a trick play by having Jiminez break for second base. However, Volpe wasn’t fooled and allowed Jiminez to steal second base while Pittman remained on third. Then, Volpe won a six-pitch battle with junior designated hitter Tyler Rocklein by getting him to fly out to rightfield where junior Dominic Fratantuono made the catch.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Tigers scored the first run of the game, thanks to junior designated hitter Kurt Wertz. Wertz led off the inning with a single to centerfield on a 3-2 pitch. Wertz stole second base while Strawn was striking out sophomore leftfielder Peter Bowles. With a runner on second base and one out, Fratantuono reached base when he was hit by a pitch. Wertz advanced to third base when sophomore first baseman Brendan Butler flew out to centerfield. With Wertz on third and Fratantuono on first base, the Tigers tried a delayed double steal. Junior catcher Levi Meyer threw down to second base but sophomore shortstop Mitch Morales cut off the throw and was ready to throw the ball home. But, Wertz had already scored to give Towson a 1-0 lead. Strawn pitched out of the jam by striking out Parker.
Once the Tigers gave Volpe a lead, he got tougher. He retired the Owls in order in the fourth and fifth innings as the Tigers took their 1-0 lead into the top of the sixth inning.
Junior second baseman Pat Fitzgerald led off the sixth inning with a single to centerfield, extending his on-base streak to 28 games in a row. When Wertz lined a double to right centerfield, Fitzgerald reached third base to give the Tigers runners on second and third with no outs. Bowles followed with a single to right centerfield, Fitzgerald scored while Wertz held up at third base.
Fratantuono upped the Tigers’ lead to 3-0 when he doubled to left centerfield as Wertz scored his second run of the game. After the double by Fratantuono, Strawn was relieved by junior righthander Kevin Alexander.
Alexander got Butler to hit a weak ground ball to first base where Nelson threw home to retire Bowles, trying to score from third base.
On a 2-2 pitch, Parker launched a long home run well over the left field fence, his 11th homer of the season and the 23rd of his college career. His three-run homer broke the game open and gave Towson a 6-0 lead.
Staked to a 6-0 lead, Volpe retired the Owls in the sixth inning without incident. In the seventh inning, he allowed a one-out single to Meyer, Florida Atlantic’s first hit since the third inning. But Volpe retired the next two hitters to preserve the shutout.
With one out in the eighth inning, Butler gave the Tigers a 7-0 advantage with a solo home run to left centerfield. It was his fifth homer of the season,
In the bottom of the eighth, the Owls came to life. After Volpe walked Pittman to lead off the inning, he was relieved by junior lefthander Kyle Paul. Paul got Jiminez to hit a ground ball to shortstop. In his haste to turn a double play, junior shortstop Hunter Bennett committed a rare error as Florida Atlantic had two runners on base with no outs. When Nelson was hit by a pitch, Florida Atlantic had the bases loaded with no outs.
While Paul was pitching to Rocklein, Parker made one of the biggest plays of the game. With Butler playing behind Nelson, the runner at first base, Parker threw down to first base when Butler snuck in behind the runner and he picked him off for the first out of the inning.
The pickoff play proved to be even more important when Rocklein singled to left field, scoring Pittman with the Owls’ first run of the game. Freshman second baseman Brendon Sanger followed by hitting a ground ball between first and second base. Fitzgerald ranged to his right and threw to Bennett at second base for the force play while Jiminez scored an unearned run. Senior rightfielder Corey Keller came through with a double down the left field line as Sanger reached third base.
After the double by Keller, Nowottnick came out of the bullpen to relieve Paul. He pitched out of the jam by getting Meyer to ground out to shortstop.
In the bottom of the ninth, Nowottnick nailed down the 7-2 win by striking out the side.
Volpe, who became only the third pitcher in Towson baseball history, to win at least 10 games in a season, pitched seven innings and allowed one unearned run on four hits. He walked two batters and had four strikeouts. Volpe allowed only one hit after the third inning and retired 14 of the last 17 batters he faced.
William & Mary 4, Ole Miss 2
RALEIGH, N.C. – The William and Mary baseball team opened its 2013 NCAA Tournament in the Raleigh Regional with a milestone victory over No. 23-ranked Ole Miss, 4-2, on Friday afternoon at Doak Field. W&M’s victory over the Rebels marked the Tribe’s first ever NCAA Tournament win as it also set a new single-season school record with 38 wins. A four-run fifth inning propelled the Tribe past the Rebels as W&M plated all four of its runs with two outs. For the year, the Green and Gold improves to 38-22, while Ole Miss falls to 37-23.
Sophomore LHP Jason Inghram (9-6) turned in an impressive performance en route to picking up is ninth win of the season. The Chesapeake, Va., native worked eight innings in which he allowed only two earned runs on eight hits to go along with three strikeouts and just one walk. Senior LHP Matt Wainman moved into a tie for second in the Tribe’s single-season save record as he earned his ninth save of the season after working the ninth inning.
At the plate, junior second baseman Ryan Lindemuth and freshman catcher Ryan Hissey led the way with an RBI apiece, both on bases loaded walks. Sophomore first baseman Michael Katz went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while freshman left fielder Jonathan Sarty also connected on two hits in five at-bats. Senior center fielder Ryan Brown scored once and registered a hit, while senior left fielder Derek Lowe scored W&M’s first run of the contest. Seniors Ryan Williams and Jackson Shaver rounded out the offensive output with a hit each.
The opening four innings of play were highlighted by each starting pitcher. Inghram and Ole Miss’ RHP Mike Mayers held the opposing bats to three hits apiece as Inghram retired the Mississippi side in order in the bottom of the third.
However, the Green and Gold initiated the scoring with four two-out runs in the top of the fifth. With one out, Lowe reached base after an Ole Miss fielding error and later advanced to third following a Brown walk and Shaw’s infield groundout. Katz followed and loaded the bases with a base on balls. Lindemuth and Hissey proceeded to give W&M a 2-0 lead after back-to-back bases loaded walks. The Tribe took a 4-0 advantage after Sarty’s sharp hit grounder, which went through the legs of the Ole Miss third baseman, brought around Katz and Lindemuth.
Ole Miss got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Senior third baseman Andrew Mistone led the frame off with a single to right field and made it all the way to third on sophomore center fielder Auston Bousfield’s double down the left field line. Mistone plated Mississippi’s first run of the afternoon on junior designated hitter Will Allen’s RBI groundout to short.
In the bottom half of the seventh, the Rebels cut the deficit to 4-2 on junior catcher Stuart Turner’s RBI sacrifice fly out to center field.
After eight terrific innings from Inghram, Wainman was called upon to close out the contest. The Woodbridge, Va., native made quick work of the frame’s first two outs with consecutive infield groundouts. Ole Miss made things interesting after an infield single and HBP as the go-ahead run stepped to the plate. However, Wainman recorded secured the victory with a fly out to left field.
The Tribe returns to action tomorrow night at 7 p.m., as it will face N.C. State.
Elon 10, UNCW 7
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – Fueled by a two-run single from Chris Bresnahan in the eighth inning, Elon outscored UNCW, 3-0, over the final three innings to slip past the Seahawks, 10-7, in the second game of the NCAA Charlottesville Regional on Friday at Davenport Field.
The Seahawks (37-22) drop into the loser’s bracket and will face Army, a 2-1 loser to Virginia in game one, on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Phoenix (33-28), meanwhile will play the Cavaliers at 6 p.m.
Antonio Alvarez shined for the Phoenix at the plate, going 2-for-4, both doubles, with four runs batted in and three runs scored. Wil Leathers came off the bench and finished with two hits, including a two-run pinch hit homer in a five-run sixth inning.
and had three hits apiece. Connelly reached base safely in all five plate appearances, scored twice and knocked in two. added two hits and also drove in two runs.
Andrew MacDonald (5-1) earned the win in relief, allowing just two hits and no runs over three and 1/3 innings.
UNCW starter (9-4) dropped his third consecutive start after allowing eight runs, seven earned, over six-plus innings.
Up next: The Seahawks face Army at 1 p.m. on Saturday in an elimination game. (6-6) will make the start for UNCW while the Black Knights counter with Alex Robinett.
How it happened: The Seahawks tied the game at 7-all with two runs in the sixth, but Elon regained the lead in the top of the seventh. Bresnahan singled off Batts to open the frame and moved into scoring position on an errant pickoff attempt by reliever . Bresnahan then moved to third on a misplayed bunt and scored one batter later on a ground ball to third to give Elon the lead, 8-7.
Inside the numbers: Offensively, Elon landed its leadoff batter on base four times and saw three of them come around to score … The Phoenix also plated 4-of-5 runners from third with less than two out … was the lone Seahawk to open an inning by reaching safely with a single to open the second inning … UNCW knocked in six runs with two out while Elon collected five, two-out RBI’s.