The Carthage College baseball team (29-14), tied for 43rd place in the May 12 "D3baseball.com" poll, stayed alive at the NCAA Central Region Championship on Friday, May 15 by eliminating Greenville College (22-21), 10-2, at Waterloo Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo, Iowa.
Carthage lost its first-round game at the on Wednesday, May 13, losing a 4-3 heartbreaker to No. 24 Webster University (31-13). In the other two first-round games, top-seeded and No. 8 Wisconsin-Stevens Point (32-12) defeated sixth-seeded Greenville College (22-20), 7-4, with third-seeded and No. 16 Wartburg (32-13) falling to fourth-seeded and No. 38 Anderson University (32-11) by a 4-3 margin.
The second day of the regional on Thursday, May 14 was rained out. Carthage tried twice to start its game with Greenville the decision was made to postpone. When play resumed on Friday, Greenville loaded the bases on Carthage pitcher Tim Sulik, and Travis Ralls delivered a two-run single before the Red Men turned a double play to end the inning.
Carthage tied the game, 2-2, in the top of the second on an RBI-single by Nick Schmidlkofer and a sacrifice fly by Matt Cmiel. After that, Sulik and Greenville pitcher Jordan Yakel dueled away until the Red Men scored five times in the sixth to take a 7-2 lead. A one-out throwing error by Panthers third baseman Josh Wheeler opened the doors for the Carthage rally. The next batter, Matt Cmiel, hit an RBI-single, followed by a two-run double by Graham Wick, a sacrifice fly by Drew Bailey and an RBI-single by Jared Helmich. The Red Men added a run in the seventh on a fielder's choice-RBI off the bat of Cmiel to make it 8-2. Carthage plated two more in the eighth to go up, 10-2. Zach Wade hit a run-scoring single, and Schmidlkofer followed with a sacrifice fly.
Tim Sulik (So., Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI, 6-2) went the distance to get the win for Carthage. Sulik allowed two runs on nine hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. Jordan Yakel (2-2) took the loss and surrendered the first five runs, just two earned, on eights and a walk over five and one-third innings. Zach Wade (So., Kenosha, Wis./Tremper) went three-for-four with two runs scored and an RBI to lead the Red Men's 13-hit attack, while Matt Cmiel (Sr., Naperville, Ill./Central) drove in three runs.
In Friday's second game, Wartburg (33-13) defeated Wisconsin-Stevens Point (32-13), 4-2, with Webster (32-13) edging Anderson (32-12), 4-3, in the late game. On Saturday, May 15, Wisconsin-Stevens Point (33-13) eliminated Anderson (32-13), 7-4, followed by Carthage against Wartburg (33-13) at 3:40 p..m. and Wisconsin-Stevens Point (33-13) taking on Webster (33-13) at 7 p.m.
"It's win or go home" said Carthage coach Augie Schmidt IV. "and Tim Sulik pitched a great game. Getting a complete game when you're in the loser's bracket keeps all your other arms fresh. We still have quite a bit of pitching left, and we didn't have to use any of it today. Trying to claw your way out of the loser's bracket is never easy. We hit enough to get some distance from Greenville, and Sulik really settled in. He's kind of turned into the guy the last two weekends. Greenville won their conference tournament like we did, but the teams that are left now are the big dogs. It's going to be tough tomorrow, but we've played a lot of tough games this last week or so, and I think we'll be ready. I think we have enough pitching left to claw our way into the championship round., but it's going to be a challenge for us."