APPLETON, Wis. – With an eight inning performance from senior righty Dan Mantoni (Northbridge, Mass.), and an game-winning RBI single by Nick Herzog (Riverhead, N.Y.) 17th/19th ranked baseball stayed alive in the 2017 College World Series as they earned their first-ever championship series win, a 3-2 victory over Wheaton College (MA), Saturday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium at Neuroscience Group Field.
No. 17/19 UMass Boston 3, Wheaton College 2
UMass Boston (38-11)
Wheaton College (27-17)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Mantoni put together perhaps one of the most impressive championship series performance in program history, as the Northbridge native allowed just two runs, one earned, on eight hits. The righty struck out two and walked just one as he improved to 3-0 in NCAA Tournament play, which is a program record.
Bryan Kaufman (Farmingdale, N.Y.) continued closed out the affair for UMB as he did not allow a hit and struck out one in the ninth to keep the Beacons alive in the championship series. With the win, UMB will now face the loser of the California Lutheran University/North Central College (IL) tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. EST in an elimination game.
At the plate, the Beacons were able to scratch together two of their three runs in the first four innings. A sacrifice bunt by Anthony Searles (Shelton, Conn.) plated Chris Fowler (Barnstable, Mass.) to tie the game at 1-1, following an early first inning run by the Lyons.
Wheaton regained the lead in the third, and was quickly countered by a solo shot by Fowler in the fourth to tie the game at two a-piece.
The two teams would cruise through the next two innings. UMB threatened in the seventh but would make a pair of base running errors to keep the score even at 2-2. Sal Frosceno (Derby, Conn.) would have driven in what would have been the go-head run as the junior center fielder ripped a triple to deep right center.
The Beacons game-winning eighth inning got off to a good start as Josh Lopez (New Haven, Conn.) led-off the frame with a walk. Mantoni would then move his teammate to second base on a sac-bunt. A groundout by Kyle Boudrias (Medford, Mass.) then put Lopez just 90-feet away from giving UMB their first lead of the night.
After an intentional walk to Fowler put runners on the corner, Herzog crushed a first pitch single to left field plating Lopez. Wheaton nearly evened the score in the bottom half of the inning, but Mantoni was able to get out of the inning on a pair of flyouts to right field.
UMass nearly got some insurance runs in the top of the ninth as they put runners on second and third with only one out. After a walk to Lopez loaded the bases, Mantoni hit a fly ball to right field. The second the catch was made the Beacons tried to score Searles, but the senior catcher was gunned out at the plate to close out the inning.
The Lyons led off the bottom of the ninth with a single which proved to be the final batter Mantoni faced. From there the Beacons turned to Kaufman to secure the victory, which he did in impressive fashion retiring the three batters he faced in order to earn the biggest save of his college career.
Fowler finished the afternoon 1-for-2 with an RBI, two runs scored, and one walk. Lopez was walked twice in the victory, while Frosceno finished 2-for-3 with the triple.
The loss went to Joe Bongiovanni, who allowed the game-winning run and two hits over 1.1 innings.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston is now 1-3 all-time in College World Series play and 11-5 in NCAA Tournament play
- With the win Mantoni ties the program record for victories with his 17th
- Mantoni now holds the career record for games played with his 172nd during his standout four-year career
- Kaufman moved into a tie for second for saves in a season with his fifth
- Fowler's home run was the first-ever in program history in a College World Series game
- Saturday's win for UMB marked their third over Wheaton College and snapped a five-game losing streak against the Lyons. The Beacons improved to 2-0 all-time against Wheaton in NCAA Tournament play.
The Beacons will play tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. EST against Cal Lutheran or North Central in an elimination game.