Jeffs Stopped by No. 7 Ithaca, 3-2

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AUBURN, N.Y. – Amherst native and Ithaca College senior Jasper Adams threw seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on four hits and lifting the seventh-ranked Bombers to a 3-2 win over Amherst College in a winners' bracket showdown at the NCAA Regional Championships Friday.

In a battle of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the New York Regional, Adams quieted the Lord Jeff bats which had rapped out 31 hits over Amherst's first two games at the double-elimination tournament. The Jeffs (27-12) now drop into Saturday's 1 p.m. losers' bracket final, where they will meet SUNY Cortland, which eliminated RPI, 5-2, in Friday's final contest. 

If sixth-seeded Amherst can beat the Red Dragons for a second time in three days, it would earn a rematch with the top-seeded Bombers (37-6), but the Jeffs would need two wins and Ithaca just one to earn the regional crown and a spot at the upcoming Division III World Series in Appleton, Wis.

Also an Amherst native, Fred Shepard '14 started for the Jeffs against his former high school teammate and lasted 5.2 innings, yielding three runs on six hits and three walks. Charles Nutter '15 provided 3.1 scoreless frames of relief for Amherst but the Jeffs could not rally, with Ithaca's Jimmy Wagner recording a two-inning save in relief of Adams. Brendon Hardin '15 was 1-for-2 with a walk and run scored for Amherst while Bob Cook '13 went 1-for-3 with a walk. Nolan Stewart '13 and Dave Cunningham '16 had the only other Jeff hits, with Stewart scoring Amherst's other run.

After Shepard and Adams traded zeros in the first inning, Ithaca struck first in the second, with Matt Connolly drawing a one-out walk before Luke Stark clubbed an RBI double to right center for the game's first run. After Andrew Turner singled between second and first, Christian Brown reached on a run-scoring fielder's choice, with Amherst managing just the out at second before Shepard induced another grounder to retire the side.

The Jeffs got both runs back in the bottom of the third, however, with Stewart driving a one-out single the other way, Hardin beating out a grounder down the third baseline and Adams hitting Jonathan Ramirez '16 to load the bases. Taiki Kasuga '14 then ripped a hard grounder to short, which Ithaca's Tim Locastro knocked down, but his feed to second was errant, allowing Stewart to score with no out recorded. Alex Hero '14 then knocked a sacrifice fly to left, with Hardin motoring home ahead of the tag to tie it 2-2. 

Adams rebounded after the unearned run, however, getting Cook on an inning-ending fly to left, and the Bombers came right back to take the lead in the top of the fourth. Turner ripped a one-out double down the right-field line then a Shepard balk advanced him to third. Locastro then followed up a walk to Brown with the go-ahead single on a flare that dropped into no-man's land in shallow right center. 

Shepard got out of the inning without further damage, but the run would prove decisive as Adams and Wagner shut down the Jeffs the rest of the way. Amherst threatened in the fourth, putting runners on first and second with one out thanks to a throwing error, but Stewart's hard grounder to third was right at Ithaca's Colby Gee for an inning-ending double play. The Jeffs' next good chance was spoiled in the sixth as Cook ripped a leadoff single and Mike Odenwaelder '16 sacrificed him to second but Adams caught the Jeff senior with a quick pickoff move on a close play.

After Adams worked a perfect seventh, Wagner came on and allowed just one base-runner over the final two as the Bombers held an opponent to two runs or fewer for the third straight game at the tournament. Locastro finished 2-for-4 with the winning RBI for Ithaca while Turner was 2-for-3 with a run scored.

BOX SCORE

2013 Ncaa baseball championship -- new york regional
(hosted by Ithaca College at Falcon Park, Auburn, N.Y.)

Links: Jeff Blog * Tournament Homepage * Falcon Park * Regional Bracket * Live Stats * Live Webcast

Team Pages: Ithaca * Cortland * Rowan * Farmingdale State * Neumann * Amherst * RPI * Moravian

Full Tournament Schedule:
Wed., May 15
Game 1: No. 4 Farmingdale State 7, No. 5 Neumann 2
Game 2: No. 1 Ithaca 11, No. 8 Moravian 2
Game 3: No. 6 Amherst 10, No. 3 Rowan 8
Game 4: No. 2 Cortland 4, No. 7 RPI 3
Thurs., May 16
Game 5: Neumann 5, Moravian 3
Game 6: RPI 5, Rowan 2
Game 7: Ithaca 4, Farmingdale State 1
Game 8: Amherst 6, Cortland 3
Fri., May 17
Game 9: RPI 6, Farmingdale State 5
Game 10: Cortland 4, Neumann 0
Game 11: Ithaca 3, Amherst 2
Game 12: Cortland 5, RPI 1
Sat., May 18
Game 13: Cortland vs. Amherst, 1 p.m.
Game 14: Ithaca vs. Winner Game 13, 5 p.m.
Sun. May 19
Game 15: Winner Game 14 vs. Loser Game 14 (if necessary), 1 p.m.