The if necessary game turned out to be entirely unnecessary on Saturday, as the Sharks of Nova Southeastern University weathered an early 3-0 hole and came back to win, 8-6 over Millersville, to claim the program's first national championship.
Nova Southeastern - 8
Millersville - 6
W: Ortiz (7-3); L: McDade (12-1); S: Raftery (17)
The day started with Nova Southeastern ahead 1-0 in the potential three-game set after taking the first game, 2-1, on Friday.
Millersville needed to win two games on Saturday to claim the title, while NSU needed only one.
Turns out, the night game wasn't needed.
In a tournament where the Sharks trailed in every single game, that theme continued in the final game of the season.
In the top of the first inning, Millersville came out swinging, bringing eight hitters to the plate in the first frame and scoring three runs on five hits and an error. After a lead-off groundout, Chas McCormick singled, Mitch Stoltzfus singled, and Dan Stoltzfus singled consecutively to load the bases with one out. After an RBI single made it 1-0 and kept the bases loaded, a strikeout for the second out looked like NSU would get out of it without much damage. However, David Summerfield laced a two-RBI single to move the lead to 3-0 before NSU starter Jonny Ortiz was able to escape the inning.
The Sharks got two runs back in the bottom of the third on a Kevin Suarez two-run bomb to cut the lead to 3-2, but the Marauders were able to get one of those runs back in the next half-inning with a sacrifice fly from Ted Williams to move the lead out to 4-2.
Then...the bottom of the inning happened.
In the bottom of the fourth, NSU brought 11 hitters to the plate, and scored six runs on three hits and two errors to effectively nail down the title. After Brandon Gomez reached on an error to open the inning, Daniel Zardon followed with a two-run homer to center field to tie the game at 4-4. Later in the inning, Dylan Woods hit an RBI single, and Suarez hit a sacrifice fly that was dropped and allowed two runs to score.
After all was said and done, previously undefeated Jim McDade had lasted only 3.1 innings, allowed seven hits, but only four of the eight runs that crossed the plate were earned.
The Marauders, trailing 8-4, were able to make it a little interesting late in the game. John Brogan tallied an RBI single in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 8-5, and Ben Snyder lifted a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth to score McCormick to cut the lead to 8-6. The tying run was at the plate for two outs for Millersville, but they were unable to find the big fly to tie the game as All-American Devin Raftery nailed down his 17th save of the season to preserve the win and lead Nova Southeastern to the first national title in program history.
We will be taking a few days off before coming back in the middle of this week with some MLB Draft coverage! We will do a preview and then cover as much of the actual draft as we can from a Division II standpoint, much like last season. This year's draft runs from June 9th to June 11th.