Baseball Rallies Past Susquehanna to Reach Championship Game of NCAA Regional but Falls to BWU - 3 Cards Honored Including 1st-Team Academic All-American Andrew Yin '15
Trailing 3-0 heading into the top of the 8th inning, Wesleyan loaded the bases for Jon Dennett '15 (#12, photo lower right), who delivered a line single to left to drive in a pair of runs and cut the difference to 3-2. The Cardinals then rallied for the tying and go-ahead runs off Susquehanna's ace reliever, all with two outs in the 9th, as Donnie Cimino '15 (#11, photo lower left) sent a hard liner to the corner in left that went for a two-run triple after a single by Robby Harbison '17 and a walk to Andrew Yin '15 (#8, lower head shot). Nick Cooney '15 (#21, photo upper right) came in to throw the 9th inning and promptly struck out the side for his first save of the year in his only relief appearance, preserving the 4-3 victory that propelled Wesleyan into the championship game vs. Baldwin Wallace in the Mid-Atlantic Regional of the NCAA Division III Tournament in Moosic, Pa. Sun., May 18. Though Wesleyan jumped ahead of BWU, 6-1, in the 2nd inning, the Yellow Jackets came back for a 9-7 win to claim the regional crown and a trip to the NCAA Division III World Series May 23-27 in Appleton, Wisc.
Sam Elias '15 (#25, photo upper left), making just his third career start in 51 pitching appearances over his three seasons, threw seven outstanding innings against Susquehanna, yielding just seven hits and no earned runs with two strikeouts and no walks. Susquehanna picked up single runs in the 1st, 3rd and 7th to build a 3-0 margin. Each time an infield error contributed to the run, the first two times by allowing a leadoff runner to reach base who eventually scored and the last coming with a runner at second with two outs, allowing the runner to cross the plate.
But Wesleyan got it going in the 8th, loading the bases on singles by Yin and Cimino, followed by a walk to Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 (#9, upper head shot). Dennett came to bat and smacked his two-run single into left field with one out. The Crusaders got out of the jam without further damage, leaving it a 3-2 contest.
After two quick outs in the 9th, Harbison slashed a single into center field and Yin drew a walk. Cimino sent a hard liner into deep left field that the outfielder seemed to have a bead on, but the ball dropped well out of his reached and rolled all the way to the fence as Harbison scoring the tying run and Yin the go-ahead score. Then Cooney closed the door, taking over for Jeff Blout '14, who tossed the 8th inning and worked out of trouble as Susquehanna got two men on with two outs. Cooney upped his single-season Wesleyan-record strikeout total to 87 in 73.1 IP and found a spot on the all-tournament team as he made three appearances, allowing just six hits and two runs over 10 innings with 12 strikeouts.
Striking for six runs in the 2nd inning vs. BWU, the Cardiinals did the damage with just three timely hits along with three walks and a hit batter. Nick Miceli brought in the first run with a bases-loaded bunt single, tying the game at 1-1. A hard-hit ball by Harbison went through the glove of the first baseman as two runs scored, leaving runners at second and third. Yin walked to reload the bases and Cimino unloaded a two-run single for a 5-1 lead. When Goodwin-Boyd was hit by a pitch, Dennett put down a bunt that allowed everyone to advance a base.
BWU made it 6-2 in the 4th and tied it with four runs on five hits and two Cardinals errors in the 6th. Wesleyan jumped ahead once again as Dennett roped an RBI single over shortstop to plate Yin wiuth his 10th run of the tournament. Yin, who hit .391 over the six games, along with Goodwin-Boyd, who swung at a .438 clip with seven RBI, were named to the all-tournament team. BWU responded with three runs in the bottom of the 7th, using three hits along with a critical Cardinal miscue that made all three runs unearned. Jimmy Hill '14 made a quality start for the Cardinals, going five innings, allowing five hits and three runs.
The 31 wins by Wesleyan broke the program record for wins in a season, set by the 30-8 NCAA squad from 1994. Cimino and Yin tied for the team lead in hits, both with 56, as Cimino now has 181, ranking him third all-time, just eight hits shy of the school record with a year to go. Yin now has 160 safeties, placing him 10th all-time, also with another season to play. Following the season, Yin, who led the team with his .331 average while also leading the NESCAC in runs scored with 45, was named a CoSIDA/Capital One Division III first-team Academic All-American. A third-team Academic All-American in 2013, when he received first-team all-NESCAC laurels behind a .381 batting average, Yin joins Peter Hicks '72 as Wesleyan's two first-team Academic All-Americans through CoSIDA. Lisa Radice '95 was the last Cardinal to earn first-team Academic All-America recognition from CoSIDA, doing so as a senior softball standout in 1995.