CORTLAND – The SUNY Cortland baseball team advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round after winning the Regional with an 18-5 victory against Tufts on Sunday.
The host Red Dragons (34-11-1) will play either Babson or Trinity in the best-of-three Super Regional round next weekend (May 24-25). The Beavers are 2-0 in their Regional and the Bantams will need to win twice today to advance. The first game between the teams is scheduled for a 2:30 pm start.
Tufts, who on Saturday earned the 750th win of head coach John Casey's career in a 7-4 victory over Penn State Harrisburg, finished the season at 31-11. It's their fourth 30-win campaign since 2014.
The Jumbos led 2-0 in today's championship-round opener at Cortland. Junior 2B Elias Varinos and junior CF Justin Mills led off the first with walks. After Varinos took third on a foul out to right field, he scored when freshman 1B Peter DeMaria hit a sac fly to right. In the second, junior RF Ryan Day singled through the right side to lead off. He went to second on a single by Varinos and scored when Mills singled up the middle.
Jumbo freshman starter Lucas Gustavson got through the first two innings unscathed, but Cortland would put a five-spot on the board in the bottom of the third. Junior LF Colin BeVard led off with a home run. Senior SS Dan Schweitzer then walked and scored on a double to right-center by sophomore catcher James Varian tying the game at 2-2. After a wild pitch put Varian on third, junior 1B Wyatt Myers singled home the go-ahead run. Another base hit by junior RF Joe Tardi and a wild pitch scored the other two runs.
Senior Isiah Hudson, who Cortland brought on in relief in the first inning, did not allow a run from the third through the sixth. Meanwhile, the Red Dragons scored four in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth to lead 12-2.
The Jumbos showed some fight by plating three in the top of the seventh to make it a 12-5 game. Senior SS Will Shackelford earned a one-out walk and went to second on a base hit by freshman pinch-hitter Nate Bozzella. Shackelford scored on a pinch single by freshman Miles Reid. A base hit by senior LF Casey Santos-Ocampo and another sac fly by DeMaria scored the other runs.
Cortland got one back in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Schweitzer, a balk and a run-scoring base hit by Varian. The Red Dragons then added five in the bottom of the eighth including a two-run double by junior CF Scott Giordano.
Varitan was 4 for 5 with three rbis and three runs scored and Myers finished 3 for 5 with a pair of rbis and runs for the Red Dragons. Freshman DH Mat Bruno went 3 for 4 with two rbis and two runs, while BeVard finished 2 for 5 with three runs and two rbis. Cortland finished with 15 hits. Hudson earned the win with 5.2 innings allowing six hits and four runs, then senior Chris Puzakulics finished up with 2.2 innings giving up three hits and no runs.
Santos-Ocampo had two hits for the Jumbos, while Varinos, Bozella, Mills, Day and Shackelford were all on twice with a hit and a walk. Gustavson took the pitching loss (2.1 IP, 7 H, 5R). Tufts, who won its sixth NESCAC title this spring, was in the NCAA Regional final for the second time in four years.
Coach Casey became the 16th active coach and 29th all-time in Divsion III to reach 750 wins this weekend.