WASHINGTON, PA. - Steven Figueroa (Bronx/St. Raymond's) hit a pair of three-run homers and Jeff Cooke (Rome/Rome Free Academy) allowed two runs in a complete-game effort as nationally fourth-ranked Cortland defeated 12th-ranked La Roche College, 10-2, in an elimination game at the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional.
Cortland (34-8) will play Saturday at 1:15 p.m. (changed from 10 a.m.) versus Earlham College. The Red Dragons need to win five more games in order to win the regional out of the loser's bracket.
Cooke, now 7-3, allowed eight hits and three walks and struck out seven for the victory. Cortland finished with 13 hits, including two or more from five different players. Figueroa went 3-for-5 with a hit-by-pitch, six RBI and two runs scored. He's the first Red Dragon to hit two homers in an NCAA playoff game since Andersen Gardner versus Linfield College at the 2010 NCAA Division III World Series.
Tyler Phillips (Hancock) was 2-for-4 with a walk, Marcos Perivolaris (Mattituck) and Patrick Schetter (Beacon) each went 2-for-5, and Paul Dondero (East Islip) was 2-for-6 with two runs scored. Colin BeVard (Syracuse/West Genesee) ended 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored.
Luis Navedo went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Corey Lazor was 2-for-4 for La Roche (34-10). The Red Hawks were a World Series team a year ago, as was Cortland, after winning the Mideast Regional. Nick Tunstall started and allowed seven runs on eight hits with five walks and three strikeouts in three and two thirds innings.
Figueroa's homers - his first two of the season - accounted for Cortland's first six runs. Nate Budge (Central Square/Paul V. Moore) and BeVard walked in the top of the second inning to set up Figueroa's three-run blast to right center to give Cortland a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, Perivolaris singled with one out and BeVard walked, and Figueroa followed with another three-run shot to right center and a 6-1 lead. Later in the inning Matthew Personius (Binghamton/Chenango Valley) drew a bases-loaded walk to extend the lead to 7-1.
Cortland added a run in the sixth on a pinch-hit RBI single by Justin Teague (North Syracuse/Cicero-North Syracuse), and the Red Dragons added two in the seventh on a two-out, bases-loaded error on a grounder hit by Schetter.
Navedo hit a solo homer in the third to put La Roche on the board. The Red Hawks' other run came in the fifth on a Navedo RBI single to center.