By Jim Dixon
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Nick Gatins was 3-for-5, with two RBIs and Bryce Schnatterly pitched effectively to lead Washington and Jefferson to a 4-2 win over Concordia-Chicago to advance in Bracket 1 of the NCAA D-III College World Series at neuroscience group field at Fox Cities Stadium.
"We are happy with the end result," said W&J head coach Jeff Mountain. "I liked the way our guys competed. You never know how things are going to go. I thought our guys handled everything. I thought we played with a good amount of confidence and with a good amount of poise."
|The Presidents scored three times in the third inning and made them stand up.
Photo by Kylie Bridenhagen, d3photography.com
Bryan VanDuser hit the first pitch he saw for his fifth home run of the season to open the scoring, but jammed his knee when he was doubled off second base in the eighth inning and left the game.
"It was a clean game and unfortunately one of the good teams had to lose that one and it was us, but I am not disappointed in our effort," said CUC head coach Mike Stawski.
The President's starter, Bryce Schnatterly, was efficient in the win. He pitched seven innings, giving up six hits and two runs, both earned. Schnatterly walked one and struck out four. Derek Helbing pitched the final inning for the save. Brian Musielak took the loss for CUC.
Bryce competed very well," said Mounatin. "He was a good matchup for them."
"I was trying to get ahead in the count with off-speed stuff," said Schnatterly. "I was trying to make them uncomfortable."
CUC shortstop Bryan VanDuser opened the scoring for the Cougars in the first inning, hitting Schnatterly's first pitch over the left field fence. The dinger was the fifth of the season for VanDuser.
"We want to pitch to contact. We want to be in the strike zone," said Mountain on VanDuser's home run. "When these things happen, That is the way it goes. It was big that [Schnatterly] bounced back and was able to get guys out.
W&J got on the board in the third inning. Three consecutive singles by Dante Dalesandro, Adam LaRue and Helbing loaded the bases. Nick Vento's sacrifice fly moved the runners up one base, scoring Dalesandro. Gatins followed with a double to left to give the Presidents a 3-1 lead.
"Starting at the end of the regional, I made a swing change and have been seeing the ball better," said Gatins. "The double was a nice hanging breaking ball and they are nice to have."
W&J traded runs in the fifth. Helbing walked and move to second on Gatins' third hit of the game. Mark Merlino's two-out single plated Helbring. CUC got the run back when Justin Rodriguez doubled to lead off the inning and scored on VanDuser's single.
Mike Formella, the Whitewater Regional MVP, come in for Musielak in sixth and shut down the W&J offense, leaving runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
"Mike is our guy out of the pen," said Stawski. "He 's been a guy we relied on. He is one that can throw a breaking ball and fastball on both sides of the plate."
VanDuser left the game after injuring his ankle going back into the second base bag in the eighth.
"It would be a big loss for us," said Stawski about Vanduser's injury. "I am hoping that he feels better. About playing in the series, we do not know yet."
Gatins led all hitters with three hits and two RBIs. Nick Vento, who tied the W&J record for hits in a career with his 251st hit, and Delesandro had two hits for the Presidents. VanDuser, Doug Matthews, and Kevin Garvey had two hits for the Cougars. VanDuser had both of CUC's RBIs.
W&J moves on to face the winner of Oswego State and Roanoke, where CUC will take on the loser.