Courtesy of Aurora University
MEQUON, Wis. -- It took 24 nail-biting innings of action but the Aurora University baseball team prevailed as the 2018 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament Champions. In game one of the day, AU fell in heartbreaking fashion 5-2 in 11 innings to No. 1 Concordia University Chicago which set up a winner take all second NACC Tournament Championship game. In game two, the Spartans got a tremendous effort from senior pitcher Jacob Stockman who tossed nine strong innings on two days rest. The Spartans were one out and one strike away from a 2-1 nine-inning victory before the game went extra innings as CUC tied the game. In the 13th inning, the Spartans struck for three runs and held on for a 5-4 win to claim their first NACC Baseball Tournament title since 2012 and for the first time since 2012 the AU Spartans will appear in the NCAA Division III Regional.
GAME INFORMATION – Sunday, May 13
Game One - Boxscore | Game Two - Boxscore
Championship Game One Score: #1 Concordia University Chicago 5, #4 Aurora University 2 - 11 innings
Championship Game Two Score: #4 Aurora University 5, #1 Concordia University Chicago 4 - 13 innings
Records: Aurora University (30-13)
Location: Mequon, Wisconsin - Kapco Park
Watch the final out - view here
SPARTAN HIGHLIGHTS - GAME ONE
- The Spartans fell behind 1-0 as a one out was followed by a two-out double by CUC.
- AU answered back immediately in the bottom of the first as Jeff Mayes hit a home run to tie the game 1-1
- The score remained 1-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth with both teams leaving runners on in the innings preceding the fifth.
- In the fifth, Colin Rivard led off with a double and advanced to third on interference on the shortstop. Austin Wiskow followed with a double and AU led 2-1.
- The game headed to the eighth with AU leading 2-1.
- A lead-off home run from CUC tied the game and AU called on Nick Mathey out of the bullpen.
- Extra innings as on the menu for game one as the teams were knotted 2-2 going to the 10th.
- In the 11th, CUC scored three times and held the Spartans off in the bottom of the 11th to win 5-2.
- The 5-2 loss sent the Spartans into a winner take all if necessary game two.
SPARTAN HIGHLIGHTS - GAME TWO
- The Spartans were the visitors in the second championship game against CUC and after a scoreless top half of the inning. CUC was able to score a run on Spartan starter Jacob Stockman without a hit. Stockman was making his second start of the NACC Tournament as he threw a complete game in the Spartans 8-3 win over Benedictine on Thursday.
- Stockman was his dominant self, holding the CUC offense down as AU trailed 1-0 going to the sixth.
- One out singles from Austin Wiskow and Jett Wedekind were followed by a walk to Jeff Mayes which loaded the bases. With two outs and two strikes, Bryce DeSpain singled to center to score Wiskow and Wedekind and the Spartans led 2-1.
- The score remained 2-1 AU as the game headed to the bottom of the ninth.
- Stockman got two quick outs in the ninth and had two strikes on the CUC batter when an infield error extended the inning. The next CUC hitter tripled to left center and the game was tied 2-2.
- Just like game one, this contest headed for free baseball for the NACC Tournament crowd.
- Senior John Barnes came on in relief of Stockman for the 10th inning.
- AU got runners on in the 10th and 11th, setting up the 12th. A leadoff double from Cale Sparks was followed by Paul Dobravec reaching on an error. Sparks tried scoring on the play but was thrown out and the game remained 2-2.
- Barnes continued to baffle the CUC hitters on the hill, keeping the AU bats in the game.
- The Spartans faced a new arm but one they had now seen for the fifth time in 2018 as the game reached the 13th. Mayes led off with a single and Davis Purviance reached on an error on a sac bunt attempt. When Bryan Larsen grounded into a fielders choice that saw a dropped ball from the CUC first baseman, Mayes came around to score and AU led 3-2. Nick Mathey, who came on to play left, singled and Cale Sparks followed with a single to score Larsen. A Paul Dobravec sac fly allowed Mathey to score and AU led 5-2 going to the bottom of the 13th.
- As had been the case for the previous 23 innings, nothing would be easy. With one out, CUC got a double, single and hit by pitch which allowed CUC to score once and have the winning run come to the plate. Coach Stevens called on Carter Turnquist out of the bullpen. After a single loaded the bases, the Spartans just missed turning a game-ending double-play as a Cougar scored. The score was now 5-4 with the tying run on third. Turnquist got the next Cougar batter to hit a chopper to shortstop Jeff Mayes. Mayes fielded and fired to Paul Dobravec at first and the Spartans were victorious 5-4.
BEYOND THE BOX
- The game two win by AU marked the first time the Spartans have won the NACC Tournament since 2012.
- AU will make the program's 21 NCAA appearance and first since 2012.
HITS: Colin Rivard, Cale Sparks and AJ Gill (3)
HOME RUN: Jeff Mayes (1)
DOUBLE: Cale Sparks, Austin Wiskow and AJ Gill (1)
RUNS: Jeff Mayes (2)
RUNS BATTED IN: Bryce DeSpain (2)
APPEARANCES (innings): Jacob Stockman (9.0), Kyle Blunt (7.0), Nick Mathey (4.0), John Barnes (3.1) and Carter Turnquist (0.2)
DECISIONS: John Barnes (win, 2-4), Carter Turnquist (save - 1st) and Nick Mathey (loss, 3-2)
STRIKEOUTS: Jacob Stockman (2), Nick Mathey and Kyle Blunt (1)
Next action for the Spartan baseball team comes Wednesday, May 16 in the 2018 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. AU will find out the NCAA regional location, their opponent and game time when the NCAA Division III Baseball selection committee releases the 2018 field.