|Felix Baez is 5-0 with a 1.45 ERA for Keystone.
Keystone athletics photo
Follow this regional
May 13: All times Eastern
Final - 11 innings
Amherst 7, at Oswego State 5Video | Video | Box Score | Live stats
RPI 12, at SUNY-Old Westbury 2Recap
Oberlin 9, at SUNY-Old Westbury 3Box Score
By John McGraw
The Auburn, N.Y., regional will truly have a national flair as teams from four regions are set to descend on Falcon Park for a chance to advance on to Appleton. The regional will be comprised of four teams from New York, two from the Mideast, one from the Mid-Atlantic and one from New England. Of the eight teams bound for Auburn, five earned automatic bids and are Pool C (at-large) selections.
The Auburn field is headlined by Cortland, the top ranked team in the New York region and the number one nationally ranked team in the D3baseball.com Top 25 for the last five weeks. The Red Dragons were our pick to win the New York region and Joe Brown’s team has certainly lived up to lofty preseason expectations with a 36-4 overall record. The Red Dragons enter the postseason ranked first nationally in team batting average (.366) and 16th in team earned run average (2.95).
Other automatic qualifiers in Auburn include 2011 New York regional champion Keystone, RPI, Old Westbury and surprise participant Oberlin from the Mideast’s North Coast Athletic Conference. Three of the four teams have made multiple NCAA tournament appearances. Keystone, who shaded Cortland in the 2011 Auburn finale, is making its seventh-straight trip to the NCAA tournament while RPI is in the regionals for the 19th time under veteran head coach Karl Steffen. Old Westbury ended Farmingdale State’s run of seven straight Skyline Conference titles and the Panthers are in the regionals for the first time since 2001. Meanwhile, Oberlin is making its first ever NCAA tournament appearance.
The three at-large selections are 2014 World Series participant Baldwin Wallace, Oswego State and Amherst. Heading out of the Mideast is nothing new to the Yellow Jackets. Baldwin Wallace was shipped to the Mid-Atlantic regional last May and won the regional crown. Oswego State has been one of just four teams to defeat Cortland this season; the Lakers downed the Red Dragons in the opening game of the SUNYAC tournament and haven beaten Cortland thrice in two years. The Lakers claimed their at-large spot with a quality strength of schedule and five wins against regionally ranked opponents. Amherst is making its third consecutive appearance in the regionals and the Lord Jeffs bus west into Auburn for the third time in three years. In 2013, Amherst was one win away from playing for the regional title against Ithaca.
Meet the teams
Auburn Regional schedule
Wednesday, May 13
Game 1 - No. 4 Oswego State (27-11) vs. No. 5 Amherst (26-13), 10 a.m.
Game 2 - No. 1 Cortland State (36-4) vs. No. 8 Oberlin (18-26), 1:15 p.m.
Game 3 - No. 3 Keystone (31-12) vs. No. 6 RPI (26-15), 4:30 p.m.
Game 4 - No. 2 Baldwin Wallace (31-10) vs. No. 7 SUNY-Old Westbury (25-11), 7:45 p.m.
Thursday, May 14
Game 5 - Oswego State vs. Oberlin, 10 a.m.
Game 6 - Keystone vs. Baldwin Wallace, 1:15 p.m.
Game 7 - Amherst vs. Cortland State, 4:30 p.m.
Game 8 - RPI vs. SUNY-Old Westbury, 7:45 p.m.
Friday, May 15
Game 9 - Keystone vs. Amherst, 10 a.m.
Game 10 - Oberlin vs. SUNY-Old Westbury, 1:15 p.m.
Game 11 - Cortland State vs. RPI, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 16
Game 12 - Keystone vs. Oberlin, 10 am.
Game 13 - RPI vs. Oberlin, 1 p.m.
Game 14 - Cortland State vs. RPI, 5 p.m.
The Red Dragons have been in this situation before and have hoisted six regional championship trophies at what has become to Cortland, the friendly confines of Falcon Park. Cortland has lost just four games this season and the Red Dragons have not dropped back-to-back games all year, and just once in the last two years. In an eight-team regional with at least four games in five days, head coach Joe Brown has perhaps the deepest pitching staff with four starters sporting sub 2.75 ERA’s and an overall team ERA of 2.95. Cortland has won 12 regional championships, this may be number 13.
Most likely to disappoint
Amherst forced a winner-take-all championship game in the NESCAC tournament against favored Wesleyan and the Lord Jeffs were two outs away from the tournament title. In addition, the Lord Jeffs boast an impressive .658 winning percentage against Division III opponents and were 26th in strength of schedule. However, against regionally ranked teams, Amherst compiled a 2-7 record with wins over Wheaton (Mass.) and Wesleyan (1-5 against the Cardinals).
The Lakers played the toughest schedule of anyone in the New York region and cobbled together a 27-11 record. In a regional that boasts numerous high-powered offenses, Oswego has a strong pitching staff that finished the regular season in the top 20 nationally in team ERA (2.99). Coach Scott Landers was part of four regional championships at SUNY Cortland as a player and assistant coach. Oswego has beaten Cortland three times in the last two years and if the Lakers get down the Red Dragons again, they should have what it takes to get to Appleton.
Players to Watch
C/3B – Eric Hamilton, Oswego State (.342, 3 HR, 38 RBI, 53 H, 26 R)
1B – Hunter Handel, Baldwin Wallace (.361, 6 HR, 47 RBI, 57 H, 27 R)
2B – Tim LeSuer, Rensselaer (.418, 35 RBI, 61 H, 45 R, 28 BB, 14 SB)
SS – Tommy Ziegen, Old Westbury (.358, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 44 H, 29 R, 21 SB)
3B/P – Mark Zimmerman, Baldwin Wallace (.386, 3 HR, 41 RBI, 44 R; 5-2, 3.72 ERA, 59 K)
OF – Conrad Ziemendorf, Cortland (.350, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 43 H, 41 R, 13 DBL, 24 BB)
OF – Mike Odenwaedler, Amherst (.373, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 57 H, 38 R, 15 SB)
OF – Andrew Hutson, Oberlin (.348, 2 HR, 45 RBI, 56 H, 34 R, 12 DBL, 6 SF)
OF – Gaston Rojas, Keystone (.346, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 53 H, 50 R, 27 BB, 29 SB)
SP - Tim Ingram, Old Westbury (7-3, 1.32 ERA, 78 K, 61.1 IP, 4 CG)
SP – Brandon Serio, Cortland (7-0, 1.52 ERA, 47.1 IP, 36 K, 5 BB)
SP – Brendyn Karinchak, Oswego (7-2, 1.97 ERA, 59.1 IP, 61 K)
SP – Felix Baez, Keystone (5-0, 1.45 ERA, 56.0 IP, 67 K, 20 BB)
SP – Sean Conroy, Rensselaer (6-1, 1.83 ERA, 73.2 IP, 78 K, 18 BB)
RP – Travis Laitar, Cortland (0-0, 2.20 ERA, 3 SV, 16.1 IP, 22 K, 10 BB, 7 H)
UT – Jared Jenson, Rensselaer (.367, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 54 R; 6-2, 2.53 ERA, 6 CG)