CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Tim Pettorini became the eighth coach in NCAA Div. III history to win 1,000 games, as The College of Wooster defeated Ohio Wesleyan University 6-2 in Friday afternoon's winners' bracket game of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament at VA Memorial Stadium.
Pettorini, with a career record of 1,000-373-6 (.727), all at Wooster, now has his squad within one victory of extending the Fighting Scots' league-leading number of titles to 14. They'll play in the championship round on Saturday against the team that survives Friday's remaining elimination games, either DePauw University (30-11), Kenyon College (27-11), and Ohio Wesleyan (23-17).
Wooster (25-15) never trailed in the winners' bracket game, scoring twice in the third, fifth, and eighth innings to overcome the Battling Bishops' two runs in the top of the fifth.
Michael DeBord started things offensively when he sent a high fly to left that saw the outfielder start in, but the ball continued to carry and sailed just over the fence for the senior catcher's third home run this season. A four-pitch walk to Jarrod Mancine followed, and with two outs, he stole second, then Eddie Reese drove him in on a sharp single to left field for a 2-0 lead.
Ohio Wesleyan evened the score during the fifth. The two runners that came across walked back-to-back with one out and Nathan Strome next sent a ball into the right-field corner for a game-tying double.
The damage could have been worse for the Scots, but with the bases loaded and one out, their third pitcher of the inning, Ben Cerami, induced a 4-6-3 double play.
Wooster turned that momentum into a two-run fifth. Craig Day and Reese started it with back-to-back singles, and Cal Thomay, who had entered during the second inning, ripped a one-out RBI single to put the Scots ahead again. An out later, Jake Zeek dumped a single into right-center to make it 4-2.
Both teams had scoring chances during the sixth and seventh innings, combining to leave seven runners on base. For the game, the offenses combined for 25 left on base.
In the eighth, Wooster padded its advantage. Mancine drew a leadoff walk and advanced all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Reese delivered a one-out sacrifice fly, but the Scots weren't done as they tacked on another run when Johnathan Ray singled and Thomay doubled him in.
On the mound, Cerami picked up the win (1-0), the first of the freshman's career, while Steve Hagen cruised through the final three innings for his fifth save. Cerami worked 1.2 scoreless of middle relief and then gave way to Hagen, who yielded just one hit and one walk, a day after picking up the victory in relief.
Offensively, Reese and Thomay each went 2-for-2 with two RBI, while Day was 2-for-5.
Saturday's NCAC Tournament action begins at 1 p.m.