Green Knights Suffer Heartbreaking Loss to St. Scholastica, Eliminated From NCAA Regional By St. Olaf

From Sports Information Director, May 14, 2009 | Baseball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

OSHKOSH -- St. Norbert College battled in its second-ever NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament appearance but suffered a pair of losses in the Midwest Regional at E.J. Schneider Field.

The Green Knights suffered a heartbreaking 7-6 11-inning loss in their tournament opener before being eliminated 8-4 by top regional seed St. Olaf College. St. Norbert finished its season 23-15, the most games it has ever played in a season. The Green Knights have won at least 20 games five times in the last six years.

St. Norbert rallied from a 5-0 deficit against St. Scholastica and forced extra innings on Jared Yost's booming home run to left field to start the ninth inning, but ended up falling in extra innings.

St. Scholastica (36-5) scored twice in the first and three more times in the fourth for its early advantage, but the Green Knights came back to score four times in the top of the fifth. Kyle Johnsen reached on an infield error to start the frame, and Brandon Hintz singled him to third. Brett Birkholz followed with a run-scoring single, and a Jared Yost single loaded the bases. Tony Jandron's sacrifice fly to right plated Hintz, while Cory Fuller's double scored Birkholz. Garrick Fisher then hit a sacrifice fly to score Yost to complete the four-run, four-hit rally.

The Saints, ranked 10th in the D3baseball.com Top 25, scored an unearned run in the sixth before Yost and Jandron hit back-to-back doubles in the seventh to cut it to 6-5. Yost then hit his home run over Wisconsin St. to square the game at 6-6 and force extra innings.

St. Norbert appeared to be in prime scoring position in the top of the 10th. Ryan Kehl singled, and with one out Ryan Gusick's single moved Kehl to third. But Hintz's fly ball center was too shallow to score Kehl and the Green Knights came up empty in the inning.

Chad Peterson opened the bottom of the 11th with a single and Sean Claughtery doubled off Jordan Vater to put runners at second and third with no outs. Tony Jandron came on to get a strikeout but Paul Kolodge's line drive down the third-base line brought Peterson home with the game-winning run.

Yost led St. Norbert at the plate, going 4-for-6 with a double and home run along with three runs scored. Hintz was 2-for-4 and Kehl 2-for-5 as the Green Knights had 13 base hits.

Josh Retka picked up the win in relief for St. Scholastica, allowing one run and five this in four innings of relief. Vater took the loss in one-plus inning of relief. Justin Wotachek started for St. Norbert and worked the first nine innings, allowing 11 hits, four earned runs, four walks and five strikeouts.

Against St. Olaf, the Green Knights got out to the early lead with a 4-0 advantage through four innings, but the Oles (31-12) scored at least once in each of the last five innings to claim the win.

Yost singled in Brandon Hintz in the third inning and Gusick then hit an opposite-field three-run home run in the fourth to put the Green Knights ahead 4-0.

Tyler Johnson's two-run home run in the fifth got the Oles on the board, and they added one run later in the inning. St. Olaf scored once in the sixth, twice in the seventh and once each in the eighth and ninth to slowly pull away.

St. Norbert had 12 hits in the game, with Fisher going 3-for-4. Fuller and Gusick were both 2-for-4, while Yost was 2-for-5. Yost tied Adam Frost's school record for hits in a season with 74 and finished the year hitting .465.

Vater took the loss in relief of Trevin Hillesheim. Vater allowed three hits and two runs in 1.1 innings of relief. Hillesheim worked five innings, allowing eight hits and four runs with two walks and three strikeouts.