Eight For Appleton: D-III Field Set

The final two spots in the NCAA Division III baseball finals were claimed Sunday by Emory (Ga.) and Eastern Connecticut State. They will join Carthage (Wis.), Chapman (Calif.), Kean (N.J.), Marietta (Ohio), SUNY-Cortland and Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the eight-team D-III World Series that begins with four games Friday.

No. 1 seed Emory beat Ferrum (Va.) College 6-5 in 12 innings to take the South Regional and advance to the finals. Emory notched the go-ahead run when Tyler Short singled home Brandon Custer with two outs in the top of the 12th inning. Eagle third baseman Frank Pfister was named the MVP of the regional after batting .600 in 25 at-bats with seven runs and five RBI.

Wisconsin-Stevens Point won the Midwest Regional championship with a 6-0 victory against Wisconsin-Oshkosh as righthander Jordan Zimmermann and lefty Mike Thrun combined on a three-hit shutout. Zimmermann, likely to be drafted in the first five rounds in next month’s draft, also notched three hits in the win, and was named the regional’s MVP.

In the New England Regional, the No. 2 seed Eastern Connecticut State claimed its sixth regional title in the last six years by crushing Keene State (N.H.) College 18-3. Eastern Connecticut State’s Melvin Castillo was named the regional’s MVP after batting 6-for-13 through the weekend with three home runs and a regional-high nine RBI.

Eastern Connecticut State will square off against Carthage (Wis.) College in Friday’s second game at 2:15 p.m. Carthage, one of the hottest teams in D-III, swept through the Central Regional to extend its school-record winning streak to 19 games. No. 3 seed Carthage beat No. 4 seed Washington (Mo.) 5-4 to advance to this weekend’s finals.

The third of Friday’s four games features the final’s lowest seeded team remaining. No. 4 seed Marietta (Ohio) College won the Mideast Regional after crushing No. 5 seed Ohio Wesleyan 15-4. The defending national champion, Marietta went 4-1 in the regional and wields the regional’s MVP in lefthander Justin Merryman who won two games in the regional. Marietta plays SUNY-Cortland, which beat Ithaca twice, 8-5 and 9-4, to win the New York Regional. Cortland, the regional’s No. 1 seed, went 4-1 during the weekend boasts a potent offense that figures to test the Marietta staff.

In Friday’s final game, Kean (N.J.) takes on Chapman. Kean claimed the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship after junior outfielder Derek Ginakas hit the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, and righthander Colin Feneis threw a complete game with a tournament-best 13 strikeouts to beat Johns Hopkins (Md.) 5-4 on Saturday. Chapman took the West Regional championship behind the arm of righthander Wayde Kitchens who–on one day of rest–pitched a five-hit shut out while striking out 11 as Chapman beat Pacific Lutheran (Wash.) 1-0 to advance to the D-III finals.