Tampa hit a roadblock in its quest for a three-peat and Sonoma State (Calif.) prevailed in a 19-inning marathon against Central Missouri as the NCAA Division II baseball championships continued at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill.
Sonoma State’s Kevin Asselin knocked in the game-winning run in the 19th inning in the first at-bat of his career. But it wasn’t just at the plate that Asselin got it done Monday–the senior also picked up the 6-5 win on the mound, propelling the No. 2 Seawolves into the national semifinals. The game was nearly ended when Sonoma State’s Dave Herman went yard in the top of the 18th, but No. 7 Central Missouri answered to prolong the contest. The Seawolves actually led 4-0 early, but the Mules battled back. Central Missouri’s Chris Matlock pitched 9 1/3 innings in relief and struck out 13 Seawolves to keep within striking distance. But Sonoma State would advance in a game that spanned nearly seven hours and featured 32 hits.
Earlier in the day, Ashland (Ohio) pulled off an upset over third-ranked and two-time defending national champion Tampa. After trailing 5-2 in the fourth, the No. 16 Eagles rallied to a 6-5 victory. David Quirog smashed a home run to right field in the seventh inning to produce go-ahead run for the Eagles. Jeff Yates also went 3-for-4 and scored twice, and Jeremy Sloan’s three innings of relief were good for the win.
In Monday’s other action, Shippensburg (Pa.) survived by eliminating Franklin Pierce (N.H.) in a 9-2 contest. Lefthander Matt Wright tossed a complete game and struck out 15 batters to help the Red Raiders bounce back from a first-round loss and stave off elimination. Franklin Pierce’s season ends with a 43-15 record. Ashland (40-16) advances to play Mount Olive tonight at 8:30, while Tampa (42-10-1) will face Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) at 2:30 in an elimination game. Shippensburg’s (39-25) win moves them into an elimination game with Central Missouri (46-16) on Wednesday.
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