Final round of Conference tournaments kicks off Thursday

Washington & Jefferson junior Riley Groves' performance was the first shutout in a PAC Tournament game since 2012, and the first for a President since May 12, 2007.
Washington & Jefferson athletics photo

Riley Groves tossed a one-hit shutout as Washington & Jefferson made a four-run fourth inning hold up to advance in the opening round of the 2016 Presidents' Athletic Conference Baseball Championship. Groves' sterling performance featured 9.0 innings and one hit, a lead-off single to begin the seventh inning, three walks and no strikeouts.

The top-seeded UMass Boston built an early 5-0 lead, and then hung on over the final three innings to defeat second-seeded Southern Maine 5-3 in an elimination game of the Little East Conference Championship Tournament at Monan Field. Dan Mantoni was the man of the hour for the Beacons going 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI, and hurling seven innings on the hill allowing one run on six hits and four walks while striking out seven. Western Connecticut State and Eastern Connecticut State finished the second day with identical 2-0 records. Eastern used a four-run bottom of the second inning to jump out to a 6-2 lead and held on for a 9-7 win over UMass Dartmouth. Western eliminated Plymouth State 4-1.

Ithaca took down Stevens, 9-1, in the first round of the Empire 8 Conference Championship at Dugan Yard. The Bombers pounded out 16 hits and used seven shutout innings from John Prendergast to come away with the opening round victory. Prendergast gave up just two hits over the seven frames with three strikeouts and no walks. Ithaca will Play Utica, a surprise 7-3 winner over host St. John Fisher.

Earlham used two big offensive innings to defeat Transylvania 12-6 to earn the program's first ever Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament win. They will go for win number two against Rose-Hulman. The Engineers sent Manchester into the elimination bracket with a 14-2 win.

Ryan Fischer scored the game winning run for the Gorloks on the opening day of the SLIAC tournament.
Webster athletics photo

A walk-off single by Brandon Smith scored the game-winner as Webster advanced in the SLIAC Tournament with a 3-2 win over host Greenville. The Gorloks advanced in the winners bracket, with Jack Bensinger tossing a complete game in the victory, and will face Westminster (Mo.). The Blue Jays cruised to a 12-2 win over MacMurray. MacMurray was eliminated in the final contest of the day by Greenville.

Saint Mary's (Minn.) made it look easy as 1-2-3 in its opening game of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Playoffs with a 7-0 win over host St. Thomas. Cale Pieczynski went 3-for-5 with a single, double, home run, three RBIs and a pair of runs scored, while Steph Scatassa was near-perfect, tossing a complete-game, four-hit shutout. It was not as easy for St. John's (Minn.). Freshman outfielder Max Jackson sent the Johhnies to the winners bracket with a walk-off, solo home run in the bottom ninth inning of a 6-5 victory over Hamline.

Penn State Behrend defeated Pit-Greensburg 7-4 in the first game of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship round. Brandon Bergstrom was on fire early from the batter's box after moving up to the leadoff spot in the lineup. He went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double and three of the Lions' four runs batted in through the first six innings. Behrend will have a mach up with Mount Aloysius as the Mounties sent host La Roche into the elimination round with a 7-5 10 inning win. La Roche came up with three runs in the ninth to earn an extra frame but Mount Aloysius score twice for the upset.

Concordia (Wis.) couldn't find the clutch hit when needed in the second game of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament. The Falcons were edged by MSOE, 3-2, forcing them into an elimination game against Dominican, who fell to Aurora 5-4 in 13 innings. MSOE got a measure of their own medicine as Concordia Chicago's Mike Formella pitched a three hit shutout and won 10-0. The Cougars will play Aurora after the Spartans defeated Benedictine 9-4.

Sophomore Connor Kennedy rapped out three hits and drove in a pair of runs to lead fourth-seeded Massachusetts Maritime to an 8-6 victory over fifth-seeded Brandeis in quarterfinal round play of the 2016 ECAC Division III New England Baseball Championships at Commodore Hendy Field.

Luther remained unbeaten after the first day of the Iowa Conference Tournament as it defeated the No. 2 seed Buena Vista 8-4 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Blake Peterson went the distance on the mound. Peterson got out of a bases loaded jam with no outs in the ninth to secure the win. He allowed four runs on 10 hits, walked two and struck out eight. Luther defeated Simpson 12-10 earlier. Coe opened the tournament with a 9-5 win over Dubuque but fell to top ranked Wartburg 8-2 in the final game of the day.

Alma pulled off a stunning upset at Nicolay Field, eliminating the host Adrian Bulldogs with a 9-5 victory in the first elimination game of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament. The victory was Alma's first over Adrian since May 7, 2008 and their first postseason win since the 1981 NCAA Division III Tournament. With the win Alma advanced to a rematch with Hope that Hope won 12-2. Kalamazoo is the remaining undefeated team in the tournament with an earlier 2-0 win against Hope.

Junior Robert Kemer struck out 11 batters over his complete-game win against John Carroll.
Otterbein athletics photo

Otterbein opened the OAC Tournament with a victory, catching fire late to pull away and beat fourth-seeded John Carroll by a score of 9-2. The Cardinals, serving as the top seed and tournament host after winning the OAC regular-season, will be pitted against second-seeded Marietta. The Pioneers emerged with a narrow 1-0 triumph over No. 3 seed Baldwin Wallace. John Carroll will square off against BW in an elimination game.

Top seeds won in the CCIW tournament.  Augustana opened play with a 3-0 win over Carthage.  In Thursday's first game, second-seeded and No. 13 North Central (Ill.) trounced third-seeded Illinois Wesleyan, 13-5.

Junior Jake Fishman tossed a complete game four-hit shutout to lead Union to a 3-0 win against RPI in the Liberty League Championship Tournament at Shuttleworth Park. Fishman proved to be nearly unhittable, retiring 11 straight batters to end the game. He finished with 10 strikeouts and two walks over nine innings to improve to 7-0 on the season, recording his fifth career shutout. Clarkson used a big 8-run sixth inning to get past Rochester 9-4. Clarkson sent 12 men to the plate, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to grab a 9-3 lead and eventually earn the five run victory.

Wooster scored in each of the first three innings, then broke the game open with a five-run fifth to take a 9-0 lead and went on to a 9-3 victory over Ohio Wesleyan in the opening game of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament at VA Memorial Stadium. Wooster will play DePauw, a 12-5 winner over Denison.

St. Scholastica cruised past Minn-Morris 11-0 to open the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament at Wade Stadium. Then put together another 13-hit performance, while limiting Northwestern to five hits to win 6-3 in the nightcap and advance to tomorrow's championship game. Northwestern and UW-Superior will play for the final spot in the championship round on Friday.

Neumann won a back and forth battle with Immaculata, 4-3, in a first round game of the Colonial States Athletic Conference playoffs. The Knights scored the winning run on a successful suicide squeeze. Curt Yenchik was hit by a pitch and pinch runner Kyle Weller moved up two bases on a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch. The Knights executed the squeeze play for the winning margin. The Knights will have a date with conference champion Keystone, a 7-3 victor over Gwynedd Mercy.