Misericordia Baseball Opens Series With Two Wins
The Misericordia baseball team announced its presence with authority, scoring six runs in the top of the first inning in Game 1 of its best-of-five series with Christopher Newport. The Cougars answered with seven runs in the bottom of the third in Game 2 en route to a sweep of the first two games against the Captains in the NCAA Regional Tournament at Captains Park in Newport News, Virginia.
The two victories leave the Cougars just one win away from advancing to next weekend’s Super Regional, where a berth in the World Series will be on the line.
The Cougars won the first game, 8-4, and won the second one, 14-9. Christopher Newport scored five runs in the ninth in Game 2.
“That was huge,” Misericordia coach Pete Egbert said of the six runs in the top of the first in the first game of the five-game set. “We really didn’t know what to expect. To be able to knock their top two starters out of the game early and to make them use their bullpen, we were just grinding at-bats. It was good for us to get on top and play our game.”
Ian McCole was outstanding for the Cougars in the first game. The sophomore right-hander from Shenandoah Valley High School went the first 7⅔ innings. McCole finished with four strikeouts, but was not afraid to pitch to contact, relying on his defense to make the plays behind him.
“Our infield defense was outstanding.” Egbert said. “To go 18 innings without making an error, we just played really good defense. It was a big difference.”
In the opener, Tyler Holzapfel had a two-run single in the first as the Cougars opened up a 6-0 lead before Christopher Newport, ranked No. 1 in the country by d3baseball.com, came to the plate. The Cougars tacked on two more runs in the third and were able to hang on from there to take the all important first game.
In the second game, the Captains rushed out to an early 4-0 lead at the end of the top of the first. While the Cougars were more patient at the plate in the first game, they came out swinging early and often in the second game, attempting to cut into the early deficit.
Misericordia scored one in the first, two more in the second and took control of the game in the third with a seven-run inning. Kenny Jarema had the big hit with a two-run double. After falling behind quickly in the first, the Cougars answered back with one in the bottom half of the inning, before scoring twice in the second to cut the deficit to 4-3.”
“The second inning was key for us,” Egbert said. “We got down early and we hoped we could answer quickly. It was just key to fight back from that situation.”
The Cougars are now one win away from advancing to next weekend’s Super Regional. They will play today at noon in an elimination game for Christopher Newport. If the Captains win the first game, they will play again at 3:30, with a game scheduled for Sunday at noon if necessary.
“It feels good,” Egbert said of winning the first two games. “It’s certainly not over. Their offense is really good. Our pitching staff is younger and I hope they learned some things today. This is the first time with this format and I am not sure how I feel about it.”
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