GRAND CHUTE, WIS. – Trinity University (Texas) scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to pull away from a 2-2 tie and the Tigers defeated Cortland, 5-2, to eliminate the Red Dragons from the NCAA Division III World Series.
Cortland finishes the season with a 43-8 record to tie for the second-most wins in school history. Last year's national championship squad finished 45-4 and the Red Dragons' 2005 national runner-up squad went 43-9-1.
The Red Dragons tied for third nationally at the Series. The program has now finished in the top four eight times, including last year's national title, runner-up showings in 2005 and 2010, third-place finishes in 1997, 1998 and this spring, and fourth-place finishes in 2007 and 2012.
Trinity (42-7) won the Pool A bracket at the Series and will play in the national best-of-three finals against either Keystone or La Roche. Cortland needed to beat the Tigers twice Sunday to win the bracket.
Nick Di Benedetto (Nanuet) started for Cortland and pitched into the seventh inning. He allowed four runs on nine hits in six and a third innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Kashaun Curry (Middletown) faced one batter before being replaced by Adam Brant (Hyde Park/Our Lady of Lourdes), who gave up two hits and one unearned run in an inning and two thirds. Turner Parry (Syracuse/West Genesee) came in with a runner on in the ninth and did not allow any runs.
Conrad Ziemendorf (Penfield/Webster Schroeder) finished 2-for-3 with a walk and RBI, Steven Figueroa (Bronx/St. Raymond's) was 1-for-3 with a double and two walks, and Austin Clock (Niskayuna) wrapped up 1-for-3 with a walk and RBI for Cortland.
For Trinity, Andrew Waters was 3-for-3 with an RBI, Connor Moore was 2-for-5 with two runs, and Nicholas Jewett went 2-for-5. Teddy Turner started for the Tigers and improved to 7-2 with five and two thirds innings of four-hit ball. He gave up four hits and two walks, struck out four , and allowed two runs. Andrew Hoffman earned his fifth save of the season, and second in two days versus Cortland, with three and a third scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and four walks and struck out two.
Trinity opened the game with a run in the top of the first. Moore led off with a triple when two Cortland outfielders collided on a fly ball to the left center gap, and Colin Serkowski followed with a sac fly to center. The Tigers scored a run in the second as well on a Waters RBI single.
Cortland tied the game with two runs in the fourth. Paul Dondero (East Islip) was hit by a pitch, Figueroa walked and, with one out, Ziemendorf hit an RBI double to left center, and Clock hit an RBI single to right center. Trinity, however, threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate on the Clock single.
Trinity grabbed a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth. Drew Butler led off with a single and, with two outs, Waters singled to right center and Carter McEachern hit an RBI single up the middle. The Tigers tacked on a run in the seventh on a Butler sac fly and another in the eighth on a Brody Fehmel two-out RBI single.
Cortland threatened with two-out rallies in the sixth and seventh but couldn't score. In the sixth, Fabio Ricci (Hawthorne/Westlake) singled with two outs and Ziemendorf and Clock each walked. Pinch hitter Patrick Schetter (Beacon) hit a line drive up the middle, but the pitcher Hoffman knocked the ball down and threw to first for the out. In the seventh with two outs, Nick Hart (Fredonia) walked, Dondero singled and Figueroa walked to load the bases. Ricci hit a 3-2 pitch that appeared destined to drop into left field for a potential game-tying single, but shortstop Moore made a racing, diving catch in the outfield to rob Ricci and end the inning.
Cortland's final chance came in the bottom of the ninth. Pinch hitter Keith Andrews (East Northport/Commack) drew a two-out walk. Figueroa followed with a double down the left field line, but a relay from left fielder Jeremy Wolf to third baseman McEachern to catcher Butler caught Andrews trying to score to end the game.
Content courtesy of SUNY Cortland Athletics.