The Roanoke College baseball team made it to the finals of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference baseball tournament in High Point, North Carolina last week before falling to Shenandoah in the championship game. The Maroons finished the season at 26-16 but did not receive a bid to the NCAA Division III tournament when the bids went out Sunday night.
The University of Lynchburg, at 35-10, did make the NCAA field despite losing twice to the Maroons in the ODAC tournament. The Hornets will join 34-10-1 Shenandoah in the NCAA tournament this week.
Roanoke was the sixth seed in the ODAC tournament but the Maroons earned a spot in the “Final Four” by taking two games from Randolph-Macon in a best-of-three series to earn the trip to High Point. Then RC surprised Lynchburg, the top seed, with a 15-3 win in the opening round game of the double-elimination “Final Four.”
Salem’s Caleb Lingenfelter pitched a complete game in the win over Lynchburg, striking out eight and throwing 132 pitches to go the distance. Ty Staz and Owen Lawn homered as seven different Maroons registered three-hit games and all nine starters had at least one hit, with eight of nine posting multiple-hit games.
Next up was second seeded Shenandoah, and the Hornets dropped RC to the losers’ bracket with a 5-4 win over the Maroons. With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth Shenandoah got a two out “walk off” single for the game winner.
RC ace Will Turner got the start and went six innings on 62 pitches giving up just one, unearned, run. PK Cocolis and Hunter Andrews combined to go 4-for-8 with a run and three RBIs in the loss.
Lynchburg eliminated Bridgewater and earned a rematch with the Maroons on Saturday evening and Roanoke stayed alive with a 2-1 win in 10 innings, knocking the the top-seeded Hornets out of the conference tournament.
With the score tied 1-1 in the top of the 10th RC’s Jacob Bonzon was hit by a pitch and Mason Staz walked. A foul out on a sacrifice bunt attempt led to the first out. Andrews hit a ground ball to short and the throw to second got the second out, but the relay throw to first went high into the screen and Bonzon scored the go ahead run.
Jack Murphy pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th and got the win after coming in to relieve in the eighth inning. Aiden Kuhle started and Tanner James also pitched in relief.
That set up Sunday’s championship with Roanoke needing to beat Shenandoah twice since the Hornets had yet to lose a game in the tournament. It wasn’t to be, as the Maroons ran out of gas and lost 13-0 to the Hornets. Conner Butler was 2-for-4 while Bonzon finished the day by going 2-for-3. Brandon Hill got the start and took the loss for the Maroons while Riley Owen pitched the shutout for Shenandoah.