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Red Dragons fall in opening regional tilt

DePauw University scored seven runs over the final two innings and the Tigers defeated SUNYCortland 8-5 Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Baseball Mideast Regional at Washington & Jefferson’s Ross Memorial Park.

The game lasted three hours and 29 minutes and ended at 1:05 a.m., forcing second-seeded Cortland (33-8) into a quick turnaround as the Red Dragons were slated to face third-seeded La Roche College in an elimination game today at 1:15 p.m.

DePauw (32-11), the seventh seed, will face sixth-seeded Keystone College in a winner’s bracket game Friday at 7:45 p.m.

Cortland led 5-1 entering the top of the eighth before DePauw scored four times to tie the game. Reid Pittard and Mike Hammel led off with singles and Jack Thompson walked to load the bases. After a strikeout for the first out, Collin Einertson hit a ground-rule double to drive in two runs. CJ Yoannou followed with a sac fly to center, and Max Cohen tied the game with an RBI double to right center.

DePauw’s go-ahead rally in the ninth started on a strange play. Ryan Grippo struck out to lead off the inning, but the third strike was in the dirt. Cortland thought they tagged Grippo for the out, but the umpire ruled no-tag and Grippo reached first safely without a throw. After Pittard walked, Hammel hit a fly ball that fell into short center. Cortland was able to get a force out at second, but runners ended up at first and third with one out.

Cortland elected to intentionally walk Thompson to load the bases, but Tate Stewart followed with a two-run double to left center to give DePauw a 7-5 lead. After another intentional walk, Yoannou drove in the final run with a sac fly to right.

Cortland’s leadoff batter reached via error to start the bottom of the ninth, but Brayden White retired the next three hitters to end the game.

Patrick Merryweather started for Cortland and took a no decision in a strong outing. He allowed three hits and one run, walked two, and struck out a career-high 10 batters in six innings. Five Red Dragon relievers followed, with Homer graduate Payten Boice suffering the loss after being charged with DePauw’s three ninth-inning runs.

DePauw starter Riley Futterknecht gave up seven hits and three runs in five and two thirds innings. He struck out four and walked three. White, the Tigers’ third reliever, earned the win after allowing no hits, walks or runs and fanning two over the final inning and a third.

Cortland led 1-0 in the first. Steven Figueroa led off with an infield single, Paul Dondero walked and Jack Massa put down a sac bunt to move the runners. Figueroa scored on a wild pitch, although Dondero was thrown out at third after rounding the base too far. DePauw knotted the game on Pittard’s RBI single in the third.

Tyler Phillips broke the tie with a solo homer in the fifth, and Patrick Schetter singled in a run in the sixth to put Cortland up 3-1. The Red Dragons added two in the seventh. Matthew Personius led off with a pinch-hit single and pinch runner Jon Warner moved to second on a Colin BeVard sacrifice. With two outs, Figueroa tripled to left center to drive in a run, and he scored on the play when the throw from center was wild.

Figueroa, Schetter and Marcos Perivolaris each went 2-for-4 for Cortland, which outhit DePauw, 10-9. Pittard and Einertson each finished 2-for-4 for the Tigers. Einertson, Stewart and Yoannou each drove in two runs.

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