Long Ball Lifts North Central to Championship Sunday

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

WHITEWATER, Wis. (May 18, 2019) – Continuing to ride the heat wave, the North Central College baseball team extended the season into tomorrow's NCAA Division III Whitewater Regional championship with a 13-4 win over the host Warhawks in the second elimination game of the day, backed by a pair of huge homeruns and another stellar performance on the mound.
UW-Whitewater (35-12) took an early 2-0 lead three batters into the game as Nick Santoro launched the second pitch of the game over the center field fence and Cal Aldridge followed suit two batters later with another solo shot, this one to left to put the Cardinals in an early hole.
The Cardinals quickly shook off the two runs and carried the momentum from game one into the nightcap as Matt Sutherland walked and Jeremy Quade singled to start the rally.  Two batters later, John Carmody drove home Sutherland with a RBI-single through the right side, while Colin Weilbacher sent Quade home with a sacrifice fly to center field, knotting the score 2-2.
Following a Joe Rizzo walk to put runners on first and second with two away, Ryan Scott bounced a ground-rule double over the left field fence to overtake the lead 3-2.
Jason Shanner then settled in nicely on the bump, shutting down the Warhawk lineup to post zeroes over the next five innings.
The offense meanwhile gave Shanner plenty of run support, as Scott launched his second no-doubt homerun of the day in the bottom of the third, this time a three-run shot to go along with his two-run bomb against Bethany Lutheran College in the day's opener.
Holding a 6-2 lead and the bases full of Cardinals with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and the wheels teetering for the Warhawks, Carmody all but sealed the deal with one swing of the bat, clearing the bases with a line drive homerun that disappeared over the center field fence and suddenly gave the Cardinals a 10-2 advantage.
The Warhawks cut into the lead with a run in each of the seventh and eighth, but the Cardinals got those runs back and then some with three runs in the bottom of the eighth as Quade drove in a run with a fielder's choice and Rob Marinec drove in two more with a double off the scoreboard in right to put the game out of reach.
Carmody and Scott combined to drive in nine of the 13 Cardinal runs, as Carmody finished 3-for-5 with the grand slam, a walk, five RBI and two runs scored, while Scott was 2-for-5 with four RBI and a run scored.
Quade added two more hits, pushing his career total to 244, just one shy of tying 1987 Division III Player of the Year and North Central Hall of Famer Ken Ritter '88 for the program record set nearly 31 years prior. Quade also added three more runs scored to his career record of 192 and another stolen base, his career record 73rd of his career.
All nine batters in the Cardinal lineup recorded a hit to put up 16 total on six Warhawk pitchers, as Rizzo, Marinec and Jared Wojcik all finished with two hits each, and Marinec also drove in a pair.
Shanner improves to 5-1 on the season with the win, going 6 2/3 innings allowing three earned on five hits while striking out eight.
North Central will once again play for their season tomorrow on championship Sunday and will have to defeat Webster University (Missouri) twice as the Gorloks are 2-0 so far in the regional.  First pitch at James B. Miller Stadium is scheduled for 12 p.m.