May 24, 2008


Red Dragons nipped in 9th

Unbeaten Trinity pulls out 2-1 victory


William Glasheen/contributing photographer
SUNY Cortland starter Matt Tone bears down pitching against Trinity in Friday’s NCAADivision III World Series inGrand Chute, Wisc. ThoughTone struck out 12 batters, the Red Dragons lost 2-1.

GRAND CHUTE, Wisc. — Someone’s impressive winning streak had to come to an end as the NCAA Division III World Series concluded Friday evening.
To the chagrin of the SUNY Cortland baseball squad, it was their school record 38-game winning habit that was halted in frustrating fashion in this tense duel at Fox Cities Stadium.
Trinity College pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Red Dragons when Matt Sullivan scored from third base on a passed ball with one out in the bottom of that fateful final inning.
The winners from the Connecticut capital of Hartford are now 42-0 in the season — the longest winning streak ever in Division III baseball.
The Red Dragons (42-4) will now have their hands full in pursuit of a national title in this eight-team, double-elimination World Series that will play games into Tuesday. Coach Joe Brown’s squad faces Wisconsin-Whitewater at 2:15 p.m. this afternoon local time in an elimination game.
The Bantams out of Trinity will meet Oregon’s Linfield College — coached by former New York Yankee third baseman and 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius — in the winner’s bracket game to follow.
In Friday’s other first round games, Chapman (Calif.) got past Kean (N.J.) 4-2, Johns Hopkins (Md.) out-lasted Adrian (Mich.) 3-2 in a 14-inning marathon and Linfield defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater 5-1.
Trinity 2, Cortland 1: The day’s finale was a classic pitching battle between unbeaten hurlers, as Trinity’s Tim Kiely went up against Red Dragon sophomore southpaw Matt Tone.
Kiely went the distance and improved to 11-0 this spring. He allowed six hits and one intentional walk while fanning 10 batters in nine innings. He has 97 strikeouts versus just two walks this season.
Tone came into the game with an 8-0 pitching mark and struck out 12 batters, one shy of his career high, in 6-1/3 innings. He gave up three hits, five walks and one run before being relieved by senior Ryan Hooper.
Trinity took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a solo homer to left by shortstop Thomas DiBenedetto. The Bantams had threatened an inning earlier on a Sullivan leadoff single and a one-out walks to Chandler Barnard and Ryan Piacentini, but Tone recorded a strikeout and a fly-out to end the threat.
Cortland tied the game in the top of the fifth off Kiely.
Senior shortstop Matt Vitalone led off with a single down the left field line and sophomore Andersen Gardner doubled off the fence in left field to put runners on second and third with no outs. One out later, senior Anthony Coromato grounded out to first to drive in Vitalone.
Trinity threatened in the seventh when Tone walked the first two batters and Sullivan bunted them over to second and third. Following another walk, Hooper was called upon to take over on the mound.
Hooper got Barnard to hit a grounder to shortstop Vitalone, who threw home where senior catcher Mike Zaccardo made a nice scoop on a short-hop throw to force out the runner from third. The inning ended on a foul pop-up to third.
In the eighth inning of this 1-1 standoff, Red Dragon second baseman Joey Russo singled through the left side with one out to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Junior Khyle Dimino hit a ball to second base that was bobbled, then thrown wild by Ryan Piacentini for a double-error that put runners on second and third.
Cortland junior Mike Avery chopped a ball to Piacentini, who threw home to easily retire Russo. With Zaccardo batting, Avery took second base trying to draw a throw and Zaccardo was then intentionally walked on a 3-1 count.
Vitalone hit a smash toward the middle of the infield, but shortstop DiBenedetto made a diving stop and flipped to second for the force out that ended the inning.
Trinity’s winning rally started with a one-out single by Sullivan and a single dumped into short right field by Tim Bourdon. Hooper walked Barnard to load the bases and a passed ball allowed the winning run to score.
Hooper drops to 4-1 with the loss.
Each team finished with six hits, with designated hitter Gardner going 2-for-4 for the Red Dragons. Sullivan finished 2-for-3 with a sacrifice for the Bantams.
Due to games running late earlier in the day, the Cortland-Trinity game started late and ended five minutes after midnight.
The game was reminiscent of Cortland’s contest versus Trinity and Kiely in last year’s NCAA Division III regionals. In that game, Trinity won 2-1 on an error in the 13th inning. Keily allowed one run and five hits over 10 innings, compared to a four-hit, 14-strikeout performance in 11-1/3 innings by Cortland’s Jimmy Dougher.
Cortland went on to beat Trinity later in that regional at Auburn’s Falcon Park, the last time the Bantams have tasted defeat.