Webster University’s baseball team lost its first game in the NCAA Division III College World Series, as a clear winner was found in the battle of All-American starting pitchers — senior Steven Dooley for Webster and senior Kevin Herget for Kean University (N.J.).
The final game of the day in Appleton, Wis., started more than an hour late due to two games running long during the day. A walk-off home run in the 10th inning by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point sent Manchester University (Ind.) into the loser’s bracket.
Due to Webster’s 14-8 loss to Kean on Friday, May 24, the Gorloks will play Manchester on Saturday, May 25 at 1:15 p.m.
Going into the fifth inning against Kean, Webster held a 3-2 lead. Dooley, a third-team All-American selection, made his first mistake through the last 12 batters he faced, as Cougar right fielder Ryan Kelly hit a lead-off double. Kelly trotted to third after a pass ball charged to Webster’s catcher, Ian Foege. Kelly scored to tie the game at 3 on a sac fly to center by catcher Michael Kendall.
Kean then began a scoring outburst with its first six batters in the sixth inning reaching base. Second baseman Tyler Smarslok scored his second run of the game on a single by shortstop Nick Ramagli. Dooley was pulled from the game after that run scored, but senior Ryan Martinez failed to slow the Cougars down. He faced only four batters and didn’t record an out.
“For the most part I’m not too upset,” Dooley said. “I would have liked to no give up six or seven, but you just have to forget about it I guess.”
Four more Kean runners scored before Martinez was relieved. Junior Brian Buchanan finally pitched Webster out of the inning, but not before a fielder’s choice allowed in the sixth run of the inning. Kean had a 9-3 edge after the sixth.
Herget, a second-team All-American selection, found his stride on the mound with off-speed pitches that seemed unhittable for Webster. He struck out six batters through innings 4-6 and allowed only two base runners in that stretch. He recorded nine strikeouts total, going eight innings and allowing two earned runs. He more than doubled the strikeout total of any other pitcher in the College World Series on May 24.
“His fastball is good,” Kurich said. “And he compliments that with a very good change-up and breaking ball. He just did a really nice job of mixing pitches.”
Webster had a few final chances to claw back into the game with bases loaded in both the eighth and ninth innings. Kean’s 11-5 lead going into the eighth was stretched into a 14-5 lead going into the ninth.
Webster pushed across three runs, all scored with two outs, in the ninth inning.
The Gorloks’ contest began just before 9 p.m., and it looked like it could be a long night for Dooley and the Gorloks from the very beginning.
The first three Cougars reached base with two runners coming around to score. Dating back to last year’s College World Series matchup between Webster and Kean (an 8-7 Webster walk-off win), Dooley has surrendered nine runs in 8 2/3 innings against the Cougars.
The Gorlok bats also failed to find any kind of rhythm. Herget set down the first three Webster batters, two by strikeouts, in the bottom of the first.
Webster’s No. 1 and 2 hitters in the lineup — senior Cody Stevenson and junior Corey Lasky — struck out a total of five times against Herget.
Webster will play Manchester on short rest. The Gorloks’ loss to Kean ended just past midnight. Webster will take the field following the other game in the loser’s bracket between Millsaps University (Miss.) and Ithaca College (N.Y.). That game starts at 11 a.m.
To watch the Webster-Manchester game, visit http://www.ncaa.com/sports/baseball/d3. All College World Series games will be streamed live by the NCAA for no charge.
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