Tigers Fall in First NCAA Game
MARIETTA, Ohio - The Tigers dropped their NCAA Division III Mideast Regional game to top-seed Ohio Wesleyan by a 6-2 score, but Head Coach Matt Walker felt his team made an impression in the loss.
"I think there's a feeling that we're the odd team out in this regional," Walker said in a postgame press conference. "It's very clear we can compete with these teams."
The loss dropped the Tigers to 26-18 on the season and into the loser's bracket where they will face Allegheny (Pa.) College at 3:30 p.m. EDT today (WGRE broadcast at approximately 2:20 p.m. in Greencastle). Allegheny, the number-two seed in the regional, lost to third-seed Marietta, 5-4. Ohio Wesleyan improved to 41-10 and faces Marietta today at Noon EDT.
The Tigers had waited 22 years to make a return trip to the Division III Championship and it was only appropriate that they had to wait out a three hour, 10 minute rain delay before the game even started.
A problem that plagued the Tigers early in the season resurfaced on Thursday as they stranded 10 throughout the game and at least one in every inning but one.
The Battling Bishops got on the board in the first against sophomore southpaw Pat Creel as the first two hitters reached base on walks. Shaun Rice then reached on a bunt single before Mark Wherry delivered a one-out sacrifice fly.
In the third Rice reached on a one-out, infield hit, stole second and scored on Drew Caravella's single. One out later Jason Bogenrife was hit by a pitch before Paul Lashuk doubled home Caravella and Bogenrife to make it 4-0.
They stretched that lead to 5-0 in the fourth as Clint Gibboney reached on a bunt single and stole second. He advanced to third on Joe Loudenslager's bunt and scored on Rice's triple.
Meanwhile, Ohio Wesleyan freshman left-hander Michael Myers was getting the outs when he needed them as he blanked the Tigers through five innings.
The Tigers picked up their only runs in the sixth as Scott Hamer drew a one-out walk. Dan Jones reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jason Geringer walked before Nick Horvath belted a triple to make it 5-2. The three-bagger was the 10th of his three-year DePauw career and set a school record.
John Stephens and Steve Spasojevich opened the DePauw seventh with singles before Peter Balyeat relieved Myers and retired the next three in order to end the Tigers' threat.
Ohio Wesleyan added its final run in the bottom of the sixth as Rice and Caravella hit back-to-back two-out doubles to make it 6-2.
"We were a couple of plays away from having a shot, but my hat's off to them," Walker said. "They made the plays and we didn't. Both teams battled hard tonight."
Creel, primarily the number three starter for the Tigers, got the call against the Battling Bishops who feature a lineup of six left-handed batters. In six innings, he struck out eight, but walked four in falling to 5-2.
"I thought Pat pitched well enough to win," Walker added.
Myers scattered eight hits over six innings on the way to his fifth win in six decisions. Balyeat picked up his third save.
Despite the 6-2 final, Ohio Wesleyan only had an 11-10 advantage in base hits with four of those coming on infield singles.
Spasojevich, Javair Gillet, Horvath and Stephens each had two hits for the Tigers. Rice went four-for-four for Ohio Wesleyan, while Caravella and Clint Gibboney added two each.
NOTES: Steve Spasojevich pulled three hits ahead of Dan Jones in the race for the DePauw career record. Spasojevich now has 172 and Jones has 169. Horvath's 10th career triple broke the mark of nine previously set by Dave Chalmers (1983-86) . Today's game is the Tigers' 45th which is a chool record and breaks the previous mark of 44 set in 1982 . With their next win, the Tigers will tie the school record of 27 set in 1995.