May 16, 2015
Albertson Hits Dramatic Walk-Off Homer, Sending Baseball to Regional Final
THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- NCAA Southeast Region Player of the Year Will Albertson connected on a towering two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday afternoon, giving the top-seeded Catawba College Indians a 7-6 victory over second-seeded Mount Olive on day three of the NCAA Southeast Regional baseball tournament at Finch Field. Catawba, ranked 12th, improves to 43-14 overall, while Mount Olive, ranked 24th, falls to 39-15 on the year.
Catawba is the only unbeaten team remaining in the regional. The 2012 regional champions advance to championship Sunday. The Indians will have to be beaten twice on the final day. The first game is slated for a 1 p.m. start. The Trojans will be back in action Saturday night, facing the winner of Saturday afternoon’s Wingate vs. North Georgia winner at 7 p.m.
Albertson went two-for-five with a homer and two RBI to lead the Catawba attack. Dylan Richardson added an RBI and two runs scored for the Indians, while Craig Brooks was two-for-four with an RBI. Blake Houston contributed an RBI and a run scored for Catawba.
Joe Koehler had a double and two RBI to lead the Mount Olive attack. Kilgore Gailmard was two-for-four with a double, RBI and run scored, while Jason Morozowski added an RBI and a run scored. Tyler Farmer contributed a double and two runs scored for the Trojans.
The Trojans jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. A pair of singles, followed by a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Justin Manning drove home the first run with an RBI groundout. Koehler followed by lining a two-run double down the right field line to push the lead to three. Brett Lang greeted Catawba reliever Russ Weiker by lining his first pitch to center for an RBI single to give Mount Olive a 4-0 advantage.
The Indians cut the lead in half in the bottom of the frame. An error and back-to-back singles loaded the bases with no outs for Catawba. Wharton’s RBI single got the Indians on the board, while an RBI groundout from Richardson made it 4-2.
A pair of singles in the fourth put runners on first and second for Catawba. Houston came to the plate with two outs and delivered an RBI single through the left side to get the Indians within a run at 4-3. A walk would then load the bases for Albertson, but Kodi Whitley induced an inning-ending groundout to keep the Trojans on top by a run.
A hit batsman, error and walk loaded the bases for Mount Olive in the fifth, but Weiker induced an inning-ending popout to get out of the jam. The Indians would then tie the game in the bottom of the frame. Richardson reached on a one-out single, then moved to third on a pair of wild pitches. He would score the tying run on a two-out RBI single from Smith, making it 4-4.
Farmer led off the top of the seventh with a double to right, then moved to third on a Zak Orrison sacrifice. An RBI groundout from Morozowski put the Trojans on top 5-4.
Catawba responded in the bottom of the frame, with Richardson starting the two-out rally with a walk. He would then steal second and score on an RBI single through the left side from Brooks.
Mount Olive regained the lead in the top of the ninth. Rob Shipman led off the inning with a walk, while Grant Tyndall entered the game as a pinch runner. He would move to second on a sacrifice from Orrison. Gailmard followed with the go-ahead RBI double to left, making it 6-5.
Catawba got a leadoff double from Austin Stilley to start the bottom of the ninth, setting the stage for Albertson. The consensus Region Player of the Year blasted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left, his 26th of the season to give the Indians the dramatic victory.
Ryan McClintock got the win, moving to 4-0 on the year. He tossed two-thirds shutout innings, allowing just one hit. Weiker tossed 6 1/3 innings in relief, striking out seven and allowing a run on just two hits. Dario Santangelo took the loss, falling to 0-1. He allowed two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings, striking out two. Whitley allowed four earned runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings for the Trojans.
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