Three Peat: Wilmington Baseball Claims Third Straight CACC Tournament Championship with 15-0 Victory Over Chestnut Hill
CACC Tournament: #1 Wilmington 15 - #6 Chestnut Hill 0 - Championship
Saturday, May 11, 2013 - New Castle, DE
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Wilmington University outfielder Brandon Payne connects on a pitch in the CACC Tournament Championship game against Chestnut Hit. He was a home run shy of the cycle, hitting one off the fence in the eighth. Photo by Mark Tetreault. © 2013 Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Wilmington University pitcher Frank Samluk went seven innings of scoreless baseball on Saturday in the CACC Championship, earning the CACC Tournament MVP. Photo by Mark Tetreault. © 2013 Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Wilmington University baseball players celebrate after defeating Chestnut Hill College to win the CACC championship game at Wilson Field in New Castle, Delaware, Saturday May 11, 2013. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Tim Shaffer.
The Wilmington University baseball team claimed its third straight Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship on Saturday, defeating sixth seeded Chestnut Hill College, 15-0, in the first game of the championship round at Wilson Field.
With the win, the Wildcats (40-12 overall) earns the CACC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament at a site to be determined during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday at 10 p.m. on NCAA.com.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Frawley Stadium, home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, but after the field was deemed unplayable due to the storm the night before, the game was moved to Wilson Field to complete the tournament.
Chestnut Hill’s (20-27 overall) Cinderella run came to an end on Saturday, as its pitching ran out of gas after coming through the loser’s bracket to reach the championship round as the number six seed. The Griffins won their program’s first playoff game on Tuesday with a first round victory over No. 3 Concordia College to reach the double elimination portion of the tournament. They then defeated No. 2 Dominican in the first round on Thursday before falling to the Wildcats in the winner’s bracket on Friday afternoon. Chestnut Hill then defeated Felician College on Friday night in an elimination game to advance to the championship round.
Wilmington, the CACC Regular Season Champions and the top seed in the CACC Tournament, extended its winning streak to 13 consecutive games, going through the CACC Tournament with three straight victories. The Wildcats defeated No. 5 Felician in the first round, 5-4, before beating No. 6 Chestnut Hill, 10-0, and 15-0 to close out the tournament.
The Wildcats got to the Griffin starter Dominic Raia in the second inning, after Raia returned to the hill on only three days rest, pitching in the play-in game against Concordia on Tuesday. Wilmington put three on the board in the second, two more in the third, a single run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to open up an 8-0 lead in the blink of an eye.
The scoring started with another triple for the Wildcats, as they added two more three-baggers to their stats on Saturday. Sam Goines continued his hot CACC Tournament with a single into right field to start the second inning. Brandon Payne followed with a double to start his excellent afternoon, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Joe Marciano then took a 3-1 pitch to the gap in right center, reaching third and forcing both runs in to open the scoring. Jon Castro finished the scoring in the second with an RBI groundout to short with the bases loaded.
Two more runs came in in the third inning to break it open for the Wildcats as a two out, bases empty single by Goines started a rally. Standing on second after an error, Goines came around to score on an RBI single by Payne. Marciano followed with a double to left center, giving the Wildcats a 5-0 lead.
The game turned for the better in the eighth inning for the Wildcats, as the home team put a seven spot on the board, really breaking open the contest and giving the Wildcats a 15-0 lead with only three outs remaining in the contest. The big swing in the inning came off the bat of Payne once again, as he was three-feet away from hitting a grand slam which would have completed the first hitting cycle by a Wildcat in the NCAA era. His drive went off the top of the fence, but only went for a single as the Wildcats were holding their spots in case the ball would have been caught.
JR Gregory hit a two run double in the inning while Jordan Johnson followed with an RBI single Kyle Lindstrom also hit an RBI double in the inning.
Sophomore Frank Samluk improved to 4-1 with a solid pitching performance for the Wildcats, tossing the first seven shutout innings while only allowing four hits and one walk. He struck out two batters and left the contest with the 8-0 lead. Tim Racek tossed a perfect eighth inning to set up the win.
Closer Nick Marics came on in the top of the ninth to secure the Championship, tossing a 1-2-3 inning while recording the strikeout for the final out of the game, starting a dog pile in front of the mound.
Samluk also batted 4-for-7 in the first two games of the CACC Tournament, scoring a run and knocking one in against Felician in the first round, garnering CACC Tournament MVP honors during the post-game ceremonies. Joining Samluk on the All-Tournament team was Sam Goines, Joe Marciano, Brandon Payne and Ray Gambone. Goines batted 7-for-10 with two triples and four runs scored for the Tournament. Marciano went 5-for-9 with two doubles, a triple, four runs batted in, and two runs scored. Payne batted 8-for-13 with two triples, a double, four RBI and six runs scored in the three games. Gambone went eight innings in the game two win over Chestnut Hill, striking out five in the shutout.
The rest of the CACC Tournament Team was Robert Hopkins, Ray Puskar and Brendan Looby from Chestnut Hill, Jerry Vasto and Aaron Brill from Felician, and Tony Blake from Dominican.
It’s the third straight CACC Tournament Championship for ninth year head coach Brian August, also his fifth overall since taking over the program in 2005. The team has won the CACC Tournament in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, and now 2013. The team was also voted the top seed in the latest NCAA East Regional poll, and No. 8 in the latest NCBWA National Top 25 poll.