Wooster Falls in 13 Innings, 8-7 to W&J in NCAA Regional Thriller

Matt Felvey
Matt Felvey

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The College of Wooster scored once in the bottom of the 13th, but left the tying run on first as Washington & Jefferson College's second score during the top of the inning turned out to be the difference in a thrilling 8-7 game that ended the Fighting Scots season Friday at the NCAA Div. III Championship Mideast Regional, hosted at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Art Nehf Field.

In a game filled with big plays, Josh Staniscia of Washington & Jefferson (32-12) sliced a one-out RBI double into the left-center gap, just beyond the reach of Wooster's (33-12) centerfielder, to break a 6-6 tie in the top of the 13th. Staniscia then made what ended up being an even bigger play, scoring from second base on Ronny Peirish's groundout to the right side. He had been running on the pitch.

Trailing 8-6, Eddie Reese, who led all players with four hits (4-for-6), opened the Scots' half of the 13th with a double – his second of the day and 22nd of the season – into the right-field corner. After a fly out that advanced Reese to third base, Frank Vance took a hit by pitch for runners on the corners. Next, Billy Farrow drove the ball to left, deep enough for a sacrifice fly, pulling Wooster within one.

The Presidents' fifth pitcher of the game, Marc Rizzo, who had taken the mound at the start of the bottom of the 11th, finished it off via a swinging strikeout on a 2-2 pitch. It marks the second-straight season Washington & Jefferson has knocked the Scots out of the NCAA tourney.

The game had been a pitcher's duel between No. 3 starters – Matt Felvey of Wooster and the Presidents' Tyler Dean – through six and one-half innings. Then, a leadoff error in the bottom of the seventh helped break a 2-2 tie and kick start a three-run frame. With Bryan Miller on first base, Jarrod Mancine poked the next pitch down the right-field line for runners on the corners with no outs to chase Dean, and John McLain greeted the relief pitcher with a sharply-hit double into left to give the Scots their first lead of the game.

Reese followed with a sacrifice fly to bring Mancine across for a 4-2 advantage. Wooster wasn't done as it loaded the bases via an intentional walk to Zac Mathie and a Vance base knock, then Cal Thomay delivered a sacrifice fly for a seemingly comfortable three-run advantage.

In the top of the eighth inning, though, Washington & Jefferson took advantage of a critical two-out error that loaded the bases as Scott Liller followed by hooking a three-run double into left to even the scoreboard. D.J. Michalski then singled up the middle, which was enough for Liller to score as the Presidents regained the lead at 6-5.

The Scots bounced right back via some two-out magic during the bottom of the eighth. Mancine was hit by a pitch, McLain walked, and Reese came through with an RBI single into center.

It remained 6-6 until the 13th, with the closest run coming when Washington & Jefferson left fielder Derek McIlvaine threw a Wooster runner out at home in the ninth to send it into extras. Earlier, McIlvaine gunned down a Scot at the plate to end the third inning.

Wooster made a nice defensive play in the top of the 10th. With runners on first and second, Farrow, who had just entered the game, snagged a liner and stepped on first for an inning-ending double play.

Felvey threw a quality start, matching his career high with seven innings, during which he yielded just one earned run (two total) on five hits. Taking just his second loss of the season was Keenan White (12-2), who after starting Wednesday's game came back in relief and worked the last three innings.

In addition to Reese's four-hit day, Vance went 3-for-6 and McLain 2-for-6.