APPLETON, Wis. – A walk-off error in the bottom of the ninth inning gave North Central College (IL) a 5-4 win as they eliminated 17th/19th ranked UMass Boston from the 2017 Division III College World Series Sunday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium at Neuroscience Group Field.
No. 17/19 UMass Boston 4, North Central College (IL) 5
UMass Boston (38-12)
North Central (31-17)
HOW IT HAPPENED
With runners on second and third and two outs on the board and a full count, the Cardinals ripped the ball down the third base line. The runner at third base hesitated for a moment but once he saw the ball bobbled he went home to give the Cardinals the victory.
Sunday's loss brought a close the most successful season in program history as the Beacons recorded their first-ever 38 win-season and their first-ever College World Series victory, 3-2 over Wheaton College (MA).
Pictured Left: Luke Nagle had an RBI double in his final game as a Beacon in the 2017 College World Series
After trading runs in the fourth inning, UMB retook the lead in the sixth, but saw that lead erased thanks to a two-run homer and an RBI double to make it 4-2 in the bottom half of the same inning. UMB then made it a one-run game in the eighth, despite having the bases loaded, on a deep sac-fly by Nick Herzog (Riverhead, N.Y.). In the ninth, a Josh Lopez (New Haven, Conn.) RBI double down the left field line evened the score at 4-4 as he plated Anthony Searles (Shelton, Conn.) who led the off the inning with a single. The junior second baseman hit a laser down the third baseline on what could have very well been the final strike of the NCAA Tournament.
In the bottom half of the inning, North Central led off the frame with a double. That runner then moved to third as he tagged-up on a flyout in foul territory by first base. From there UMB would collected their second out of the inning on a flyout to center field. The Cardinals were stopped by a great throw by Sal Frosceno (Derby, Conn.). NCC would pick-up their second base runner on an intentional walk setting up the late inning drama.
Bryan Kaufman (Farmingdale, N.Y.) who had dealt all season for the Beacons forced a 3-2 count. On the very next pitch, the Cardinals ripped the ball hard down the third base line. Danny Brown (Hudson, N.H.) tried to collect the play, and nearly had it the runner going home, but was unable to collect the ball at the last second, as the Cardinals were able to slip past UMB in their second meeting during the championship series.
On the hill Fernando Burgos (Hyde Park, Mass.) went six complete innings and allowed four runs on six hits. The righty also had six strikeouts and walked just three batters. Joe Maguire (Peabody, Mass.) went the two innings, and was handed the tough loss, his second of the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Sunday's contest marked the final in the careers of Searles, Dan Mantoni (Northbridge, Mass.), Matt Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) and Luke Nagle (Pembroke, Mass.) who have a program record 108 wins, one LEC regular season and tournament title, and one NCAA Regional crown
- Kaufman ended the season with a program record 1.03 ERA and was one of the top closers in the entire country
- The Beacons bullpen ended the year with a 3.08 ERA which is also a program record
- The Beacons played a program record 50 games and broke the 2010 record for wins in a season with 38