COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – For the first time in the history of the program, the Macalester College baseball team won the MIAC Playoffs with a 13-5 victory over top-seeded Bethel University Saturday afternoon at Saint John's Becker Park. The conference title earns the Scots (26-15) the conference's automatic bid to what will be Macalester's first NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament.
The Scots join the 1950 and 2011 teams, who won regular-season championships, as MIAC champions.
Macalester continued its trend of scoring early, opening the game with a lead-off single from sophomore Jared Abelson (Herndon, Va./South Lakes), followed by a triple by junior Alex Baretta (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic). After Bethel tied the score with a run in the bottom of the first inning, the Scots exploded for nine runs on eight hits and four Bethel errors in the top of the second for a commanding 10-1 lead. Junior Collin Brantner (Farmington, Conn./Kingswood Oxford) struck the big blow with a three-run home run. Abelson and Baretta also drove in runs in the inning.
Macalester didn't stop there, as senior Quentin Stuart (Nashville, Ind./Indiana Academy) blasted a two-run homer, his ninth of the season and second of the tournament, for a 12-1 lead. A single by junior Ben Castagnetti (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) plated junior Nick McMullen (Payson, Ariz./Payson) later in the inning to make the score 13-1. Bethel scored a run in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the ninth to close out the scoring.
The Scots racked up 19 hits, including five extra-base hits, as eight of the nine starters had at least two hits apiece. McMullen and sophomore Sam Goldberg (N. Potomac, Md./Thomas S. Wootton) each had three hits. In three tournament games, Macalester scored 25 runs on 38 hits and five homers while batting .336. Abelson was 7-for-14 at the plate, and Stuart hit two home runs with a team-best six runs batted in.
Senior Dylan Edwards-Gaherty (New York, N.Y./American Studies), who earned the save in each of the first two playoff games, started today and allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits while fanning five and walking two in five innings. He is now 6-1 on the season. Senior Sam Thomas (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) tossed three shutout innings with one hit allowed, and senior Doug Lewis (Duluth, Minn./Marshall) pitched the final inning.
Bethel, the 2017 MIAC regular-season champion, fell to Macalester, 5-3 in Thursday's opener before beating Saint John's and St. Thomas on Friday to advance to Saturday's final.
The Scots will await the announcement from the NCAA to learn of their destination for the NCAA Regional Tournament, which begins next week.
2017 MIAC Baseball Playoffs, hosted by Saint John's University
Thursday, May 11
Game 1: No. 4 Macalester 5, No. 1 Bethel 3
Game 2: No. 2 St. Thomas 1, No. 3 Saint John's 0
Friday, May 12
Game 3: No. 4 Macalester 7, No. 2 St. Thomas 6
Game 4: No. 1 Bethel 2, No. 3 Saint John's 1
Game 5: No. 1 Bethel 3, No. 2 St. Thomas 2
Saturday, May 13
Game 6: No. 4 Macalester 13, No. 1 Bethel 5