Wilmington Baseball’s Dream Season Comes to a Close, Falls Short Against Franklin Pierce, 5-1, in East Region Tournament Championship
BB: Game 1: #1 Wilmington 2 - #4 Southern New Hampshire 1 (10 inn.); Game 2: #6 Franklin Pierce 5 - #1 Wilmington 1 - NCAA East Region Tournament
Sunday, May 19, 2013 - Manchester, N.H.
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Sophomore Rob Gore tossed six scoreless inning of one hit ball against Southern New Hampshire in Sunday's first contest at the East Region Tournament. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Junior Josh Hampton rounds the bases after hitting his walk-off home run against Southern New Hampshire in the bottom of the 10th inning on Sunday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Sophomore Sam Goines batted a combined 3-for-7 on Sunday, finishing the tournament 6-for-15 with a double, four RBI's and two runs scored. He was named to the All-Tournament Team. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Wilmington University’s dream season came to a close on Sunday, as the baseball team fell to Franklin Pierce, 5-1, in the championship game of the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament, one game shy of reaching the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship, at Penmen Field on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University.
The Wildcats (43-14 overall) reached the championship game against Franklin Pierce after defeating host Southern New Hampshire on a walk-off home run by junior Josh Hampton in the bottom of the 10th inning. Hampton took the first pitch he saw and deposited it into the bullpen in left center to give the Wildcats a wild, 2-1, extra-inning victory.
Leading 1-0 and needing only two more outs to close out the game in regulation, Southern New Hampshire hit a solo home run off Nick Marics in the top of the ninth to force extras, only to be outdone by Hampton who hit his fifth homer of the season, his first in walk-off style. He took the first pitch he saw off Penmen reliever Alex Powers to sent it deep into the alley, causing the bench to erupt in a party at home plate.
Rob Gore pitched six scoreless innings in the start against Southern New Hampshire, striking out five batters while only allowing one hit. He worked out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the fifth inning, picking up a much needed strikeout before starting a 1-2-3 inning ending double play to escape unscathed.
Jarrett Shaffer tossed a scoreless seventh inning before Tyler Fries threw a scoreless eighth inning to keep the Wildcats ahead 1-0 heading into the ninth inning. Marics gave up the home run with one out in the ninth, but came back to pitch a perfect 10th to give the Wildcats a shot.
The win moved the Wildcats into the NCAA Division II East Regional Championship game against sixth seeded Franklin Pierce, with the winner heading to the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship in Cary, N.C. All three teams had one loss coming into action on Sunday after Franklin Pierce defeated SNHU Saturday night in 13 innings.
After throwing a complete game on Saturday, the Ravens’ started Kevin McGowan for the championship game, throwing the first two innings while striking out a pair of only giving up one hit.
The Wildcats responded with NCBWA East Region Pitcher of the Year David Hatt who gave Wilmington three innings of scoreless baseball, striking out two batters as the game remained scoreless through the first three innings.
Franklin Pierce got on the board first in the contest, scoring a pair in the bottom of the fourth inning before adding another two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Wildcats finally got to reliever Ryan Leach in the top of the seventh, but it was too little too late as they could only respond with a single run. Leach tossed six innings in relief, recording three strikeouts while giving up one unearned run on three hits. Leach improved to 6-4 on the season with the win.
Sam Goines went batted 2-for-4 with an RBI in the day’s first game against SNHU and finished the tournament with a 1-for-3 performance against Franklin Pierce. He batted .400 for the tournament, going 6-for-15 with a double, four RBI’s and two runs scored. Matt Lopes batted 2-for-4 against SNHU, finished the week by going 8-for-18 with five runs and four RBI’s. For their efforts, both Goines and Lopes were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Sunday was the final contest in the careers of six Wildcats, as Joe El-Bisi, David Hatt, Jordan Johnson, Brandon Payne, Justin Risko, and Jonathan Rodriguez finished their tenure in the Green and White. The senior class took the Wildcats to new heights throughout their career, setting a new program record for wins this year while making its first appearance in the East Region Championship game in the University’s NCAA era.