When and Where: May 21, 2018 – Pleasantville, N.Y. (Finnerty Field)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 6, St. Thomas Aquinas College 0
Records: SNHU 39-15, STAC 39-15
Graduate student Shane McDonald (Blue Point, N.Y.) fired a one-hit, complete-game shutout, striking out a career-high 15, to lead the fourth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University baseball team to a 6-0 whitewash of second-seeded and 17th-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas College on Monday at Pace University's Finnerty Field, as the Penmen captured their second NCAA East Regional Championship and completed the regional a perfect 4-0.
Southern New Hampshire secured the program's second College World Series berth and first since 2012 with the victory, as it avenges last season's regional final loss to St. Thomas. The Penmen will now await their seeding and first matchup at the CWS, which begins Saturday, May 26.
SNHU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when redshirt-senior Ryan Sullivan (Hopkinton, Mass.) doubled to the gap in right-center, moved to third on a groundout to the right side from freshman Sam Henrie (Middleboro, Mass.) and scored when freshman Idelson Taveras (Lawrence, Mass.) legged out what was scored a two-out error by the STAC second baseman.
The Penmen expanded the lead in the third, as sophomore Tom Blandini (Bow, N.H.) laced a double into the right field corner before graduate student Thomas Buonopane (Peabody, Mass.) smacked a two-run homer to left-center and raced around the bases pumping his fist to make it 3-0.
McDonald cruised through four no-hit innings before a double from Anthony Maisano broke up the bid in the fifth. McDonald would strike out the side, however, to get out of the tough spot.
Southern New Hampshire nudged its lead to 4-0 in the sixth when Henrie led off the frame with a double to left-center, before redshirt-sophomore Joshua Goldstein (Haverhill, Mass.) delivered a single to center to plate him. The Penmen looked to add another run when Blandini ripped a base hit to right, but a good throw from Giovanni Dingcong and an out-of-position home plate umpire combined to call Goldstein out, despite sliding in ahead of the tag.
The Penmen widened the gap in the seventh, when singles from Buonopane and senior Caleb Potter (Mentor, Ohio), followed by a walk to freshman Dakota Mulcay (Goffstown, N.H.), loaded the bases with no outs. Sullivan followed with a ground-rule double to left that caromed off the foul pole and out of play to make it 6-0.
McDonald retired nine of the last 10 after that to end it.
McDonald (7-2) allowed just one hit over nine innings, fanning 15 and walking just two, as he reached career highs with the Penmen in strikeouts and innings pitched.
Buonopane (two RBI, two runs), Sullivan (two RBI, run) and Potter (run) all went 2-for-5, while Blandini finished 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. Goldstein was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI, with Henrie going 1-for-4 with a walk and a run.
- Southern New Hampshire improves to 21-13 (.618) all-time in NCAA Tournament play, in its seventh appearance.
- The Penmen won for the 20th time in 23 contests and are 29-6 since sitting at 10-9 back on March 24.
- SNHU limited the region's best offense to just three hits over two games, as grad student Andrew Lalonde (Bedford, N.H.) and sophomore Wesley Tobin (Portsmouth, N.H.) combined on a two-hitter Sunday in an 8-1 winner's bracket semifinal victory.
- McDonald recorded six 1-2-3 innings and struck out the side three times, picking up at least two strike outs in five of the nine innings. He retired 13 of the first 14 he faced and then 14 of the final 15.
- SNHU outscored its opponents, 28-4, during its four games at the regional, and did not make an error, while its opponents committed 12.
- Southern New Hampshire used just five pitchers in the regional, as its staff went a combined 4-0 with a save and a 1.00 ERA, allowing just four runs on 15 hits over 36 innings, while striking out 35 and walking nine. Three of the four Penmen starters turned in complete-game efforts.
- Goldstein hit .545 (6-11) with three RBI, three runs and four walks, while slashing .688/.545/1.233, at the regional.
- Henrie also performed well at the regional, going 5-for-14 (.357) with a home run, two RBI, six runs and three walks, while crafting a slash line of .444/.714/1.158.
The Penmen will await their seeding and schedule for the College World Series, which begins Saturday, May 26 in Cary, N.C.
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