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Mitchell splits pair of games and is ousted from NCAA Div. III baseball tourney

A long, hot day at the ballpark ended with Mitchell College being eliminated from the NCAA Division III Annville (Pa.) Regional baseball tournament on Saturday.

After posting a 10-8 victory over Lebanon Valley in the morning to remain alive in the losers' bracket, the Mariners suffered a 13-6 loss to 24th-ranked Washington & Jefferson in a game that ended at about 8:30 p.m. at McGill Field.

Fourth-seeded Mitchell finished the season 31-13.

Third-seeded Washington & Jefferson built a 9-0 lead through two innings and never looked back.

"Kind of mixed emotions," said coach Travis Beausoleil by phone. "The strength of our team all year has been our pitching staff and we just didn't pitch great this weekend. The defense didn't bail them out on some plays. You can't go into regional play and not be playing your best baseball. There are too many good teams.

"Unfortunately, we didn't play our best baseball."

In the first game, the Mariners set a program record for most runs in an NCAA tourney game, topping the output in a 9-3 decision over Suffolk in 2018.

They seized the lead for good with an eight-run outburst in the third inning and then held on from there.

Sophomore Angel Galindez and senior John-John Jose powered a 14-hit attack with three hits apiece while freshman Bo Yaworski (Killingly) had two hits and four RBI and junior Lelo Martinez (New London) added two hits and two RBI. Sophomore Justin Adorno walked, singled, scored two runs and drove in two and Hunter Yaworski (Killingly) had two hits.

Senior Sam Majewski earned his team-high fourth save by recording the final out on a strikeout with the tying run at the plate. Junior Tyler Daly (3-1), who relieved starter Chris Gibbs in the fourth and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, earned the win.

Like in their tournament opening loss on Friday, the Mariners fell behind early, allowing three runs in the third inning.

This time, they rallied to win.

During the big third inning, they sent 13 batters to the plate and pounded out seven hits. With the bases loaded, Bo Yaworski tied the game with a double. Martinez's two-run single propelled them into the lead. Adorno's two-run single made it 8-3.

"The third inning allowed us to breathe a little bit easier," Beausoleil said.

Mitchell added what ended up to be valuable runs — one in the fifth when Dougie DelaCruz (Montville) drew a bases loaded walk and one in the seventh on Yaworski's second double of the game — to build a 10-5 advantage.

Things got a bit hairy in the ninth when Lebanon Valley scored three runs to cut the deficit to two and brought the tying run to the plate. But Majewski needed just four pitches to record a strikeout and secure Mitchell's fifth NCAA post-season win in program history.

After about a five-hour break between games, Mitchell faced third-seeded Washington & Jefferson, which scored four runs in the first and five in the second to take a commanding lead.

Washington & Jefferson (37-9), which advanced to the championship round and will face top-seeded Rowan on Sunday, piled up 21 hits against five Mariner pitchers.

Martinez led the Mariners with three hits while Hunter Yaworski had a double, solo home run and two RBI and Dougie Delacruz had two hits and walked. Starter Eddie Kaftan took the loss.

"We went two games where our No. 1 and No. 3 pitchers went two-thirds of an inning," Beausoleil said of the three regional games. "We're not winning a lot of regional games like that."

The Mariners fell to 5-14 in seven NCAA tournament trips.

They've won a game in four straight NCAA appearances.

"We are considered, rightfully so, one of the best teams in New England," Beausoleil said. "We can beat and compete and play with everyone. A couple of things go differently, we can win this regional tournament. It's gaining valuable experience and ultimately it just comes down to playing your best baseball and having an opportunity to go on.

"We need to get over that hump and get to a super regional and the world series. Next year, hopefully, will be that year."

Nearly the entire team will return next season for the Mariners. 

ECSU reaches title game

• East Lyme's Matt Malcom played a key role as top-ranked Eastern Connecticut reached the championship round of the Rochester (N.Y.) Regional with a 17-4 win over Middlebury.

The game was tied 4-4 in the seventh when the Warriors (41-3) erupted for nine runs. Malcom broke the tie with a two-run homer, his 10th of the season, and added an RBI single later in the inning.

Eastern is now just a win away from reaching the Super Regionals. The Warriors will play either Middlebury or Swarthmore (Pa.) on Sunday at 11 a.m. with a deciding game, if necessary, to follow at 2:30 p.m.

g.keefe@theday.com

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