When and Where: May 30, 2018 – Cary, N.C. (USA Baseball National Training Complex)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 7, University of California, San Diego 4
Records: SNHU 41-16, UC San Diego 43-17
Sophomore Tom Blandini (Bow, N.H.) and senior Kyle Pangallo (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) each homered to spark a seven-run outburst over the first three innings and lead the fourth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University baseball team to a 7-4 victory against the third-seeded and 14th-ranked University of California, San Diego on Wednesday at the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship in Cary, N.C., at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
Southern New Hampshire, making its second appearance in the College World Series, has staved off elimination in two straight games and is one of four teams left standing of the eight that began play Saturday. The Penmen will now play Thursday, May 31 (1:30 p.m.) in a rematch of their opener against fifth-seeded Augustana (S.D.) University. UC San Diego joins the University of Southern Indiana as teams that have been eliminated by SNHU.
The game, which was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., was then changed to an 8 p.m. start time after rain forced the 3 p.m. game to get going an hour late. Mother Nature again had her say later in the day, dumping more water on the tarp-covered field, which did not allow the contest to begin until 9:43 p.m. One three-hour and 26-minute marathon later and the Penmen advanced at 1:09 Thursday morning, meaning they will have less than 12 hours to rest up before the first pitch against Augustana.
After senior Mitchell Powers (Portland, Maine) set the tone by striking out a pair in a 1-2-3 top of the first inning, Blandini did him one better by hammering the third pitch of the inning over the wall in right for his first career leadoff home run to make it 1-0.
Pangallo then delivered the big blow in the second that made it 4-0 by drilling a three-run shot to left for his second home run in three games in Cary. Freshmen Sam Henrie (Middleboro, Mass.) and Idelson Taveras (Lawrence, Mass.) set the table for Pangallo with back-to-back, one-out singles.
SNHU did more damage in the third, with a one-out single by senior Caleb Potter (Mentor, Ohio), followed by a walk to freshman Dakota Mulcay (Goffstown, N.H.), knocking the UC San Diego starter from the game. Redshirt-senior Ryan Sullivan (Hopkinton, Mass.) then greeted the reliever rudely, lining a single to center that made it 5-0. Mulcay later came home on a wild pitch, with Taveras driving a two-out base hit up the middle to cap the scoring and stretch the Penmen lead to 7-0.
UC San Diego jumped on the board in the fifth when Michael Palos led off the frame with a solo home run to left. After Shay Whitcomb walked and Powers recorded a pair of outs, Keenan Brigman, laced one down the line in left, but the perfect Henrie-to-Pangallo-to-Mulcay relay cut down Whitcomb at the plate to end the inning.
The Tritons added another run in the sixth. After putting the first two batters of the inning on, Powers came out of the game for redshirt-sophomore Brendan Welch (Easton, Mass.), who struck out the first batter he faced, before a dribbler to third perfectly caromed off the bag and loaded the bases. A full-count walk then made it 7-2 and ended Welch's stint, but sophomore Wesley Tobin (Portsmouth, N.H.) came on and induced an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play to limit the damage.
UC San Diego pulled closer in the seventh, as a sacrifice fly from Brigman and two-out single by Zander Clarke made it a 7-4 game.
Tobin locked in from there, retiring the final seven batters of the game, as he struck out the side in the ninth to end it.
Powers (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits, while striking out seven and walking a pair, over five-plus innings. Welch allowed a hit and issued a walk, and struck out the only batter he retired. Tobin picked up his second save of the season – and his second save of the NCAA Tournament – by tossing three-and-two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on two hits, striking out four and walking one.
Taveras was one of seven Penmen to record a hit in the contest, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Pangallo (three RBI, run) and redshirt-sophomore Joshua Goldstein (Haverhill, Mass.) were each 1-for-3, while Blandini (RBI, run), Sullivan (RBI, run), Henrie (run) and Potter (run) were all 1-for-4.
- Southern New Hampshire improves to 23-14 (.622) all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including 3-3 (.500) in the World Series, and has now won six of its last seven NCAA postseason games.
- This is the first time SNHU has won two games in a single World Series and marks the furthest the team has advanced in program history.
- The Penmen have won 22 of their last 26 contests.
- In eight NCAA postseason appearances, including four starts, Powers is now 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 36-and-two-thirds innings.
- Pangallo is 5-for-9 (.556) with two home runs, five RBI and three runs scored in the three games in Cary.
- The home runs for Pangallo and Blandini were their second of the season.
- Potter has now reached base safely in 28 straight games, while Henrie runs his own same streak to nine.
The Penmen return to action Thursday (1:30 p.m.) against Augustana (S.D.).
For more information on the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship, click HERE.
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