Roanoke to face W&J in bracket final

By Jim Dixon

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Roanoke exploded for six runs in a chaotic third inning in which the first eight Roanoke batters reached base and saw the ejection of Concordia-Chicago head coach Mike Stawski. The Maroons went on to eliminated the CUC Cougars 10-3 in an elimination game that opened day three of the NCAA D-III College World Series played on neurosciences group field at Fox Citties Stadium.

" We are excited to keep going and play this afternoon," said Roanoke head coach Matt McGuire.

"Not the way we planned it," said Concordia-Chicago head coach Mike Stawski. "One sloppy inning and the game got away. That's baseball. A lot of baseball things happened that inning and it was like a rock rolling down hill and we could never regain momentum."

Roanoke's Dean Hermanson's double in the third inning scored three runs and broke a 2-2 tie as the Maroons advanced in the D-III World Series.
By Steve Frommell,

The baseball glances off Will Decker's shin as it bounced before the plate kicking up some dust.
Photo by Kylie Bridenhagen,

In the sixth inning that featured a lengthy discussion by the umpires and the ejection of the CUC head coach, Roanoke turned a close game into a runaway victory.

Eli Sumpter and Sean Guida opened the inning with singles and a base-on-balls to Collier Donald loaded the bases. With a 1-2 count on Will Decker, CUC starter Keaton Conner bounced a ball in the dirt that glanced off Decker's shin. Initially Decker was sent to first on a hit by pitcher but after a discussion among the four umpires, returned to home plate to finish the at-bat. The home plate umpire lost the count and ball four came in with the scoreboard reading 3-2. Another discussion by the umpires got it right and a run for the Maroons.

"I thought it got his foot," said McGuire. "It was a pretty good slider. It was down but I thought it got his foot."

"We thought it hit the foot," added Stawski. "We were not sure but enough for us to go back to our packet to see if it was reviewable. It ended up being a walk so it played out the way it should be."

Dean Hermanson came up next and laced a line drive to left that the leftfielder misjudged. The ball scooted past a diving Kevin Garvey for a bases clearing double. Petar Arbov came in to relieve Conner and was greeted with run scoring singles by Sam Watson and Scott Ellis. Drew Mikula was hit by Arbov making eight consecutive Maroons reaching base in the inning. A crisp 6-4-3 double play and a ground out to shortstop ended the inning with Roanoke holding a 7-1 lead.

"It is a confidence booster if you come out hot like that and you don't have to press as hard in the end," said Hermanson. "I wanted to get any kind of production for this team. Forrest was shoveling and figured to keep getting some runs, I knew he was going to do his job and we will come out on a good side."

Stawski was not around to see the end of the inning. After the pitching change, an exchange between Stawski and an umpire resulted in his ejection.

With the lead in hand Roanoke starter Forrest Wagner and Cameron Eck combined to keep the CUC offense in check.

"The story of the game was Forrest," said McGuire. "He was unbelievable, very poised for a freshman. We had a lot of confidence in him. When you hold this kind of offense to six hits and three runs with him and Cam Eck combined, it is impressive for a freshman amd sophomore."

"Pitching with a lead is always good," said Wagner. "I just needed to pound the zone."

CUC started out of the blocks for two runs helped with two walks by Wagner. Joe Silva's single up the middle was followed by the free passes to Mitch Wilson and Kevin Coppin. Justin Rodriguez' two-out single to center plated both Silva and Wilson.

The Maroons got one back in the second. Hermanson singled to open the second inning and moved to second on a pitch in the dirt by Conner. Drew Mikula got a two-out RBI of his own with a single that dropped untouched into right.

CUC and Roanoke finished the scoring in the sixth inning. Rodriguez had an RBI for the Cougars. Roanoke's Donald drove in Mikula with a double and scored when Decker's drive cleared the fences for a home run.

"The guy did a good job getting a two-out RBI and we answered with a three spot," said McGuire. "It was a momentum swing that kinda put the game out of reach. That three spot in the sixth was big time for us. That's two seniors with two big-time two-out hits."

Wagner earned the win, allowing three runs, two earned on four hits and six walks. He struck out four. Eck pitched the final two innings with two hits, a walk and one strikeout. Connertook the loss for the Cougars. He allowed six runs on five hits and two walks. He pitched two inings and faced five batters in the third inning. Arbov gave up four runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out 2 in three and two-third innings. Mike Formella finished the final 2 and one-third innings with one hit and a strikeout.

Elis had three hits with Hermanson adding two for Roanoke. Decker and Hermanson had three RBIs apiece. Rodriguez was the only Cougar with multiple hits with two. He had all three RBIs for CUC.

"I did not realize what this was until I got here," said Stawski. "When you've never been her before, you never know what you are missing. Now that we are here and all these guys got to taste it, this is going to fuel us for the next nine months getting back. This is going to be a focus forever for this program."

Roanoke will face Washington and Jefferson in the third game today. Concordia-Chicago ends their season 34-13.