ITHACA, N.Y. – (ITHACA ATHLETICS) The Ithaca College baseball team saw its season come to an end on Sunday at Freeman Field as the Bombers dropped both games to Catholic, 7-4 and 16-2, to end their season with a 34-14 record. Catholic now advances to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from June 3-8.
GAME TWO: Catholic 7, Ithaca 4
Catholic’s Jack Zaffiro and Ithaca’s Colin Leyner matched 1-2-3 innings to start the game as Zaffiro struck out two Bombers and Leyner fanned one Cardinal.
The Cardinals took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on three hits. A lead off hit by pitch on an 0-2 count was followed by a double. A sacrifice fly brought in the first run and then a safety squeeze gave the Cardinals a 2-0 edge. Catholic then loaded the bases and a two-out single plated two more runs.
IC threatened in the top of the third by placing runners on the corners with two outs, but a strikeout kept the Bombers off the board.
Catholic’s lead grew to 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning as Peter Giombetti stroked a two-out solo home run to left-center.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Bombers picked up their first hit of the game on an infield single by Mike Nauta. Louis Fabbo then sent a base hit up to the middle. Now with runners on the corners, Nauta scored on a wild pitch for IC’s first run of the game. A fly out moved Fabbo up to third base and he would score on a groundout from Nicholas Cutaia to pull the Bombers to within three runs at 5-2.
The Bombers plated two more runs in the top of the seventh to make it a 5-4 game. Ethan Rothstein drove in Matt Fabian with a double down the left field line as Fabian scored all the way from first. After an out, Riley Brawdy sent a ground-rule double down the right field line to bring home Rothstein. IC would leave two runners on base as a pair of pop outs to third base ended the inning.
In the seventh, IC knocked Zaffiro out of the game after the left struck out 10 batters over 6.1 innings of work.
Connor Pedersen moved to the top of the single season hits list as he stroked a base hit to right-center in the top of the eighth inning to give him 76 hits on the year.
The Cardinals added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on three straight extra base hits to take a 7-4 lead into the ninth inning.
IC would load the bases in the top of the ninth inning but a hard-hit comebacker to the mound sent the Super Regional into a decisive Game 3.
GAME THREE: Catholic 16, Ithaca 2
The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning behind a two-run double and a pair of sacrifice flies. Catholic quickly loaded the bases on back-to-back hit by pitches, followed by a walk, and made the Bombers pay.
Ithaca got a run back in the top of the second inning, 4-1, on an RBI single to right by Brawdy, which brought home Pedersen, but the at bat ended for IC as Fabian was thrown out at third.
IC continued to struggle on the mound in the second inning as the bases were loaded on a walk, single and hit by pitch. The lead grew to 8-1 for the Cardinals in the next at bat as Ben Nardi cranked a grand slam over the right field fence.
Two more runs would score for Catholic in the third off an infield error and sac fly to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 10-1.
Ithaca had a chance to chip away at its deficit in the fifth by loading the bases on hits from Nauta and Shirley, accompanied by a walk to Cutaia, but IC left the bases loaded without scoring a run.
Catholic tacked on three more runs in the sixth on a two-run double and an error that would have ended the inning that made it a 13-1 difference.
Another run scored for the Cardinals in the seventh on an RBI single to right-center and then Catholic plated two more in the eighth for a 16-1 difference.
IC got back on the board in the top of the ninth for the 16-2 final score.