The 2017 NCAC Baseball season came to a close over the weekend as both DePauw (33-13) and Wooster (36-10) were eliminated from the eight-team double-elimination NCAA Division III Mideast Regional, played at Ross Memorial Park on the campus of Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Wooster entered the as the top-seed in the eight-team tournament but the Scots stumbled out of the gates with a 6-2 loss against the eighth-seed Earlham on Thursday afternoon. DePauw, which entered the tournament as the seventh seed, pulled off an upset in the opening round as the Tigers notched an 8-5 come-from-behind victory over second-seeded SUNY-Cortland in a game that ended at 1:07 a.m. on Friday morning. DPU trailed Cortland, 5-1, after 7.0 innings of play, but a pair of two-RBI doubles from junior outfielder Collin Einertson (Ballwin, MO/Westminster Christian) in the seventh and senior third baseman Tate Stewart (Granville, OH/Granville) in the eighth helped lift the Tigers to the three-run victory.
The Scots bounced back on Friday with a 12-0 win over Misericordia in the first elimination game of the tournament, thanks in part to a strong pitching performance from junior right-hander Nanak Saran (Hudson, OH/Hudson) and a four-RBI showing at the plate from sophomore second baseman Jacob Stuursma (Hudson, OH/Hudson). Saran struck out three hitters and allowed just five base hits in 7.0 innings of shutout work.
DePauw was scheduled to play its winners bracket game against Keystone at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, but after several weather delays, the game was postponed until 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. DPU fell behind early in the winner's bracket game as the Giants put up a seven spot in the first inning and the Tigers were only able to push across singles runs in the third, fifth and ninth as they dropped into the elimination bracket with a 10-3 loss.
Wooster’s win coupled with DePauw’s loss set up a rematch on Saturday evening between the two squads that most recently met twice last weekend in the 2017 NCAC Baseball Tournament with the Scots winning both games by a combined score of 43-9, which included a 25-6 victory in the championship game. As is often the case in baseball, the tables were turned in the NCAA Tournament as DePauw scored 10 runs over the final three innings of the game to eliminate Wooster from the tournament with a 13-4 victory over the Scots. Sophomore right-hander Grant Rademacher (Munster, IN/Munster) got the ball as the starter for the first time in his career and he didn’t disappoint as he struck out seven Wooster hitters and allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits in 5.2 innings of work to earn the win, while senior Andrew Quinn (Chesterfield, MO/St. Louis Univ. H.S.) earned the first save of his career after striking out four and allowing just one earned run over the final 3.1 innings of work. Offensively, senior Mike Hammel (Westfield, IN/Cathedral) went 3-for-3 in the game with a solo homer in the third inning. He also reached base safely in six plate appearances on the day with three walks, to go along with four runs scored.
The revenge factor ultimately got the best of the Tigers in their next elimination game on Sunday morning as SUNY-Cortland eliminated DePauw with a 9-0 victory that included a complete-game shutout pitching performance from the Red Dragons’ Alex Weingarten.
2017 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional All-Tournament Team
Eric Elkus, 1B, Earlham College
Grant Rademacher, P, DePauw University
Austin Chaszar, OF, Keystone College
Miguel Reyes, P, Keystone College
Jake Casey, P, SUNY Cortland
Steven Figueroa, IF, SUNY Cortland
Tyler Phillips, 2B/DH, SUNY Cortland
Adam LaRue, 2B, Washington & Jefferson College
Mark Merlino, 1B, Washington & Jefferson College
Riley Groves, P, Washington & Jefferson College
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER - Nick Vento, OF, Washington & Jefferson College