Greeneville, Tenn. (May 28, 2019) – In a game deciding which Region XIX team would move on to Wednesday's NJCAA Division III College World Series final, cross-town rival Cumberland County College pounded out 21 hits, plated 15 runs, and were the beneficiary of five RCGC errors on their way to a wild 15-13 victory.
"We played catastrophically bad infield defense," head coach Rob Valli said. "They credited us with five errors, we probably had nine. If you play that bad in the infield, you have very little chance to win giving that many outs away."
The errors started early, as Anthony Capasso, who had already beaten Cumberland County once this year, was credited with giving up two unearned runs in his 3.1 innings pitched, surrendering seven total runs in his eighth start of the year. Two RCGC infield miscues came in Cumberland County's three-run first inning, though only one was officially ruled an error, and the Dukes would go on to score three in the third, one in the fourth, three in the sixth, and five in the decisive eighth frame that witnessed the Dukes erase a Roadrunner lead and hold on for their 46th win of the year.
The defense was the low point in a game that once again started nearly three hours later than it's scheduled 7 p.m. start time.
"I don't think that had anything to do with it," Valli said of the Roadrunners having to face yet another contest that went deep into the early morning hours. "The game was fast in the beginning and it (bad fielding) gets contagious. One guy makes a bad play, then another, then the ball finds the players making the bad plays. Just can't play that bad of defense and expect to win."
It was yet another solid offensive evening for Valli's squad, as they seemed to always have an answer for the prolific hitting of the Dukes. Falling behind 3-0, 6-5, 10-8, and 15-11, RCGC was able to take the lead back three of the four times they trailed, and took an 11-10 advantage to the aforementioned eighth inning prior to the five-run outburst of Cumberland County. Even the four-run deficit the Runners faced heading into the bottom of the ninth inning looked tenuous for the Dukes, as a whirlwind conclusion to the nearly four hour game saw hurler Jose Rodriguez force in a run with a balk, and two batters later a walk, despite the Runners being down to their final out. With the bases full and Rodriguez laboring, Cumberland County turned to their ace Michael Miles, who threw a complete game one-hitter against RCGC earlier this year. Miles would need just one pitch to induce a ground ball to first to retire Genao, the tying run stranded on second and the winning run left on first.
Genao finished the day 4-for-6 with 2RBI, while Gattinelli and Jake Catalano would tally three-hit games. Seven different Runners had an RBI, though all but one Cumberland County hitter had a multi-hit game, with five amassing multi-RBI nights.
The win for the Dukes evens the season series between the two programs at two, and puts them into Wednesday's championship game, needing just one win to secure their first national championship. The Runners first loss since May 4th pushes them out of the winners bracket and into a waiting game, as they'll take on the winner of Tuesday's 3 p.m. elimination contest between Century College (MN) and Brookhaven College (TX).
"I think if we come out with energy and enthusiasm we expect to win," Valli said. "We've pitched, we've hit, we've done all the things we need to do, we just can't play that bad of defense."
To follow along live with statistics, video, or both, click here and scroll midway down the page to Game 13.
The Roadrunners picked up a 12-7 in the early morning hours at the NJCAA DIII World Series and now face a familiar foe as they look to book a spot in the championship. RCGC will face Garden State Athletic Conference rival Cumberland CC who defeated #2 seed Brookhaven College 7-0 to advance. The two teams have played three times already this season with the Roadrunners holding a 2-1 series lead including a win in the NJCAA Region XIX Tournament.
Game time is set for 7pm ET from the site of the 2019 NJCAA Division III College World Series, Pioneer Park in Greeneville, Tenn. on the campus of Tusculum University.
March 29: Cumberland 1 RCGC 0
April 23: RCGC 7 Cumberland 5
MAy 17: RCGC 21 Cumberland 1
TOURNAMENT INFO: Monday, May 27, 2019 Schedule
Game 9: No. 8 Rhode Island (27-11) vs. No. 2 Brookhaven (40-26), 1:00 p.m.
Live Stats | Video
Game 10: No. 6 Century (37-11) vs No. 5 Oakton (37-21), 4:00 p.m.
Live Stats | Video
Game 11: No. 3 Cumberland County (45-5) vs No. 1 Rowan Gloucester (41-9), 7:00 p.m.
Live Stats | Video
1 seed Rowan College at Gloucester County
District G, Region 19
Location: Sewell, New Jersey (15 miles S of Philadelphia - 557 miles NE of Greeneville)
Colors: Blue and buff
2019 record: 41-9
National rank: 4th
World Series appearances: 22 (1992-93-94-95-96-98-99-2000-01-02-03-05-06-08-10-11-12-13-15-16-18)
Championships: 7 (1992-93-99-2000-05-10-13)
Runner-up: 5 (2002-03-06-08-11)
Record vs. field: 2-1 (2-1 vs. Cumberland County)
3 seed Cumberland County College
District G, Region 19 (At-large selection)
Location: Vineland, NJ (42 miles south of Philadelphia - 571 miles NE of Greeneville)
Colors: Navy and gold
2019 record: 43-5
National rank: 1st
World Series appearances: 2 (2014-17)
Runner-up: 1 (2014)
Record vs. field: 1-2 (1-2 vs. Rowan Gloucester)