Matt Angle Single in 10th keeps Ohio State alive in NCAA tournament, Buckeyes down Le Moyne 6-5!
Junior captain Matt Angle delivered a clutch two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning as Ohio State stayed alive in the NCAA College Station Regional with a 6-5 win Saturday over Le Moyne at Olsen Field in College Station, Texas.
With runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Angle (Jr., Whitehall, Ohio/Whitehall-Yearling) slapped a hit between the third baseman and the shortstop, bringing home J.B. Shuck (So., Galion, Ohio/Galion) with the winning run and eliminating the Dolphins (34-19).
Cory Luebke, the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, pitched a career-high 10 innings for his ninth win and third complete game of the year. Luebke (Jr., Maria Stein, Ohio/Marion Local) improved to 9-1 despite not being as sharp as he has been for most of the year. He allowed five earned runs on nine hits, striking out seven and walking none.
The No. 3 seed Buckeyes (38-23) advance to face the loser of the winner’s bracket final between No. 1 seed Texas A&M and No. 2 seed Louisiana-Lafayette at 2 p.m. ET Sunday. The winner of that game will advance to play the undefeated team in the championship at 8 p.m. Sunday. If the undefeated team loses, the second championship game will be played Monday at 7:30 p.m. Louisiana-Lafayette sent OSU to the loser’s bracket with a 5-4 win Friday.
The winner of the regional advances to a best-of-three super regional and will play the winner of the Rice Regional that includes Rice, Prairie View, Baylor and Texas Christian.
The Buckeyes jumped out on top early, scoring a run in the bottom of the first. Angle was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to third on an Eric Fryer (Jr., Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) single and a Justin Miller (So., Dayton, Va./Turner Ashby) deep fly ball before scoring on a Jason Zoeller (Sr., Verona, Pa./Shady Side Academy) single.
Le Moyne tied it at 1-all in the top of the second before OSU regained the lead, 3-1, with two runs in the bottom of the second. Cory Rupert (Fr., Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Madison) and Cory Kovanda (Fr., Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) reached on back to back walks with one out, and after a fielder’s choice, Angle delivered with a two-RBI single.
The Ohio State lead didn’t last long as the Dolphins scored one run in the third and three more in the fourth for a 5-3 advantage.
The Buckeyes would equalize at 5-all with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Jacob Howell (Sr., Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) uncorked a shot over the right field wall to tie the game. It was his fourth home run of the season.
Luebke held Le Moyne scoreless for the next six innings, while the Buckeyes were held without a run for five innings until Angle’s game-winning hit in the 10th.
Eric Beaulac started for Le Moyne and only lasted five innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out none. Ryan Woods relieved Beaulac in the sixth and went 4.2 innings before Angle’s hit. Woods gave up just one earned run on seven hits, walking one.
The Buckeyes had 14 hits in the game, Le Moyne nine. Howell, Angle, Zoeller, Shuck, Rupert and Kovanda all had two hits in the game. Angle had three RBI and Howell two.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s Jefferies Tatford wasn’t getting any help from his fellow outfielder, so it wasn’t until he felt the ball hit his palm that he knew he’d thwarted a ninth-inning Texas A&M rally.
With the NCAA College Station Regional’s top-seeded Aggies trailing by two runs, Tatford pulled in a potential game-tying home run by Craig Stinson for the second out of the ninth. Luke Anders doubled to drive in Blake Stouffer and cut the Ragin’ Cajuns’ lead to one, but that’s where it stayed as Louisiana-Lafayette won the winners’ bracket final 5-4 on Saturday at Olsen Field.
Tatford’s catch in left field was the biggest defensive play in a game that included four ULL errors.
“I couldn’t hear anything,” Tatford said. “Usually outfield communications are pretty easy, so I really put it in my mind not to worry about running into the wall, and luckily it fell into my glove.”
Tatford said the Olsen Field crowd of 5,810 almost kept him from making the catch.
“The crowd … every time [A&M] hit a popup, they make that loud noise to mess with the outfielders,” Tatford said. “They were hostile all night, and communication was going to be they key, but I really couldn’t hear anything.”
Tatford said he didn’t know he was going to catch the towering shot until “after I felt it hit my palm, because I really didn’t see it. My forearm was definitely over the wall.”
ULL took a 5-3 lead after Jonathan Lecroy’s eighth-inning solo homer, his 18th of the season.
Stouffer got his third hit of the game with a double to the wall in the ninth. He stood near second watching Stinson’s fly ball.
“I’ve seen Craig take a 1,000 swings, so I knew he hadn’t hit it on the screws but well enough to get over the wall,” said Stouffer, who tagged up and moved to third on the play. “I actually thought it had gone out.”
A&M (45-17) will face Ohio State at 1 p.m. Sunday with the winner advancing to face ULL (45-15) at 7 p.m. in the championship. Kirkland Rivers, who started A&M’s Big 12 Tournament victory over Texas, will start against Ohio State. OSU did not name a starter.
If ULL loses Sunday night, the teams would play again at 6:30 p.m. Monday for a berth in next week’s Super Regionals against the winner of the Houston Regional.
ULL followed up Kyle Nicholson’s first two walks with three singles for three runs in the seventh inning to take a 4-3 lead.
Nicholson (11-2), who lost for the first time since Feb. 9 against Arizona State, had faced only two over the minimum until the Cajuns came within one hitter of batting around in the seventh.
“I thought Nicholson had an incredible start. He competed his tail off,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “He’s our guy and if I’m going to lose a game I’m going to lose it with Kyle Nicholson on the mound.”
After leaving the bases loaded in the third, the Aggies got on the board in the fourth when Colligan hit the first pitch over the left-field fence for his ninth homer of the season.
Brodie Greene then walked on four pitches, and after Parker Dalton sacrificed Greene to second, Brian Ruggiano chopped a double over the drawn-in third baseman Matt Hicks to drive in Greene. Hicks was playing in because the Aggies already had reached base four times on bunts, including one by Ruggiano.
ULL starter Hunter Moody lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits with nine strikeouts.
Moody beat the Aggies in San Antonio last season on a three-hitter. Three players from the present Aggie team faced Moody that day, going a combined 1 for 10 with Dalton getting the one hit.
On Saturday, Stouffer, Stinson and Dalton went 2 for 8, with Stouffer sending Moody to the showers with a homer in the sixth. It was Stouffer’s 10th homer of the season, and it gave A&M a 3-1 lead.
But the Aggies stranded 13 baserunners, including seven in scoring position. And when A&M had chances for big innings against Moody, the Cajun starter found ways to escape innings.
“Speed is such a weapon night in night out, and [A&M] did a great job using it, but one thing [Moody] did was he bent but didn’t break,” ULL coach Tony Robichaux said. “They could have set up huge innings right there with the crowd creating havoc, and they did a good job but Hunter did a better job of settling down.”
Andrew Laughter (3-1) pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to pick up the victory.
Aggie shortstop Brandon Hicks had 10 assists with no errors. As a team, A&M played errorless baseball, while ULL committed four errors.