Cardinals take flight with three-run eighth

More news about: Mass-Boston | North Central (Ill.)

By Jim Dixon

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -  Mass-Boston and North Central treated the crowd to a pitchers' duel but that got forgotten in a three run eighth inning that saw North Central grab the lead for the first time and go on to defeat second seeded Mass Boston 5-3 in Bracket 2 of the NCAA D-III College World Series at neuroscience group field at Fox Cities Stadium.

"I am thrilled with our team's effort on the big stage," said North Central coach Ed Mathey. "They settled in to the game pretty well. Our guys hustled all around the horn."

John Carmody was all smiles after his eighth-inning double helped spark a three-run rally.
Photo by Steve Frommell,

Austin Polezoes threw a complete-game four-hitter.
By Steve Frommell,

"I thought we had a lack of execution on defense that led to that inning late," said Mass-Boston head coach Brendan Eygabroat. "We had a couple of plays where we failed to pick up a short hop and get the guy at second base."

UMB opened the scoring in the first. Kyle Bourdrias walked with two outs and scored one batter later as first baseman Chris Fowler doubled to left center.

NCC responded with a run of its own in the top of the second. A Chris Hill single and a John Carmody base on balls set the plate for Sing Fong. The Cardinals right fielder dropped a single just off the foul line to move the baserunners two bags along for a 1-1 tie and runners on the corners with no outs. UMB starter Matt Tulley stranded the two runners with a shallow fly to center, strikeout and a ground out to close the inning.

"I just get a base hit to get to the next guy," said Carmody. "I know if I don't Sing [Fong] will pick me up and if I do, I am doing my job."

With the score knotted at one run apiece, both pitchers settled in. North Central starter Austin Polezoes retired 10 batters in a row and Tulley matched him with a 12 of his own, eight via strikeout, as both pitchers controlled the game in the middle innings.

"I thought Matt did exactly what we expected to do," said Eygabroat. "To give us a chance to win."

"I have been in a groove for the last four or five starts," said Tulley. "After I got through the first two innings where I was struggling, I just got in a grove and kept going."

"He throws hard and was locating and settled there in the middle, said Carmody about Tulley. "It was real tough to pick up with the lighting."

"[Polezoes] did a great job," said Mathey. "He established the fastball to both sides of the plate. He established it up and down in the zone. When your doing that it keeps the hitters off balance. Mass-Boston was a dangerous team with guys on base and I though Austin did a good job of limiting their ability to run the bases."

In the bottom of the sixth, UMB finally broke through with their second run of the game. Dan Mantoni singled to center and Boudrias followed with a ball that split the right and center fielders for a triple and an RBI.

NCC once again responded with the equalizer in the next half inning. Tulley hit Carmody and was replaced with Bobby Tramondozzi. Tramondozzi walked Fong and a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Matt Sutherland's groundout scored Carmody.

The Cardinals opened the floodgates in the eight inning adding three runs for their first lead of the night. With two outs on the board, Nick Sotiros doubled to center and Hill walked. A balk advanced the runners one base. Carmody lofted a ball over first base that scored Sotiros. An attempt to tag Carmody at second was late and when the ball rolled away, Hill came in for the second run of the inning. The night was over for Tramondozzi as he was replaced with Bryan Kaufman. Fong greeted Kaufman with a single to left that scored Carmody.

"I am just going in and being confident and doing what I have been doing all year," said Carmody. "Looking for pitches I can hit and execute."

Polezoes went the distance for his fifth win of the season, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out two. Tulley finished with six innings. He was responsible for two runs on three hits with a couple walks and nine strikeouts. Bobby Tramondozzi look the loss in his 1.2 innings, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out one. Kaufman finished off the game with 1.1 innings, giving up a hit and recording a strikeout.

Sotiros and Fong led all hitters with two hits in the game. Sing also led both teams with two RBIs. Hill scored twice.

"We know it is winner go home so we have to come out and give it our best shot," said Eygabroat. "We need to come out and put all the chips in the middle of the table."

North Central moves into the winners bracket with their first win in their two College World Series appearances. They will play the winner of the final game of the day, Cal Lutheran vs. Wheaton (Mass.). Mass-Boston falls into the elimination round with a date against the loser of the late game.