When and Where: May 27, 2018 – Cary, N.C. (USA Baseball National Training Complex)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 3, University of Southern Indiana 0
Records: SNHU 40-16, USI 36-23
The Southern New Hampshire University baseball team made a deal with Ian Price prior to Sunday's elimination game against the University of Southern Indiana at the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. Ian immediately came through on his end. It then took nearly six hours, but the Penmen held up their end of the bargain, too.
Graduate student Shane McDonald (Blue Point, N.Y.) allowed just two hits over seven-and-a-third innings, and sophomore Tom Blandini (Bow, N.H.) and grad student Thomas Buonopane (Peabody, Mass.) each delivered third-inning RBI singles, as the fourth-seeded Penmen survived with a 3-0 victory over eighth-seeded Southern Indiana at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
The Penmen made a deal with Ian, a member of the squad through Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that pairs children with life-threatening illnesses with college athletic teams, that if he stood up from his wheelchair and walked to the car, they would win for him that evening. Ian successfully made the walk through a tunnel of cheering Penmen and then cheered them on later in the day, as the team recorded its second World Series victory in program history.
Southern New Hampshire, making its second appearance in the College World Series, will now play Wednesday, May 30 (7 p.m.) in another elimination contest against the loser of Tuesday's game between the third-seeded University of California, San Diego and second-seeded Columbus State University. There is a chance, because of weather, the game gets moved up to Tuesday. Stay tuned to SNHUPenmen.com and the snhupenmen social media outlets for up-to-date information.
The Penmen jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, as back-to-back base hits from senior Kyle Pangallo (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and redshirt-sophomore Joshua Goldstein (Haverhill, Mass.) set the table for RBI singles from Blandini and Buonopane. Following the four straight hits, a strikeout and inning-ending double play limited any further damage.
Southern Indiana threatened in the fourth, putting a pair in scoring position with no one out. Goldstein recorded the first out, making a great catch after tracking down a flare to shallow right field. Blandini when took advantage of the runner at third drifting too far off the bag on the ground ball and cut him down, 5-2-6, before McDonald took care of the rest by collecting a huge punchout to keep it a 2-0 ballgame.
The game stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth, when Southern Indiana put a runner on second against McDonald. The Penmen went to bullpen for fellow grad student Andrew Lalonde (Bedford, N.H.), who entered with one out. The Screaming Eagles drew a walk and legged out a bunt single around the second out of the inning to load the bases. Lalonde then picked up the final out of the frame when senior Caleb Potter (Mentor, Ohio) made a smooth sliding catch in right field to get out of the jam.
Southern New Hampshire grabbed an insurance run in the ninth when redshirt-senior Ryan Sullivan (Hopkinton, Mass.) led off with a triple off the wall in center and scored on a deep fly ball to the warning track in left off the bat of freshman Sam Henrie (Middleboro, Mass.).
Lalonde came back out for the bottom of the ninth and worked around a two-out hit batsmen to seal it.
McDonald (8-2) tossed seven-and-a-third shutout innings, allowing just two hits, while striking out three and walking one. Lalonde earned his first career save with one-and-two-thirds scoreless frames, giving up one hit, striking out one and issuing a walk.
Pangallo went 2-for-3 for the second straight game, drawing a walk and scoring a run. Buonopane was 2-for-4 with an RBI, with Goldstein (walk, run) and Henrie (RBI) each going 1-for-3. Blandini (RBI) and Sullivan (run) both went 1-for-4.
- Southern New Hampshire improves to 22-14 (.611) all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including 2-3 (.400) in the World Series, and has now won five of its last six NCAA postseason games.
- SNHU reaches the 40-win plateau for the fifth time in program history.
- The Penmen have won 21 of their last 25 contests.
- After tossing a one-hit shutout in the East Region final last Monday, McDonald has now thrown 16-and-a-third scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, while striking out 18 and walking three.
- Lalonde's relief appearance was his first since April 2, 2017 in a 5-4, 11-inning win against Saint Anselm College.
- Potter has now reached base safely in 27 straight games, while Henrie runs his own same streak to eight.
The Penmen return to action Wednesday (7 p.m.) against either UC San Diego or Columbus State. There is a chance, because of weather, the game gets moved up to Tuesday. Stay tuned to SNHUPenmen.com and the snhupenmen social media outlets for up-to-date information.
For more information on the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship, click HERE.
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