June 1, 2012
Catawba Baseball Has Historic Post-Season Run
Catawba baseball's historic post-season ride in 2012 came to an end in another one-run affair in the semifinals of the NCAA II College World Series in Cary, N.C. Despite an outstanding pitching effort from Nick Lomascolo on three days rest, Catawba could not muster much offense in falling 2-1 to West Chester.
West Chester pushed across a run in the bottom of the ninth to take the win and eliminate the fourth-ranked Indians. All four of Catawba's games in the World Series were decided by a single run. Lomascolo had started the finals with a 2-1 win over Indianapolis where he also pitched into the ninth.
Following the Indianapolis win, Catawba suffered a tough one-run loss to Delta State. Catawba then kept their season alive with a 5-4 win over #1 St. Mary's. The Indian pitching staff was dominate in the post-season. Over nine games, the staff allowed just 55 hits over 78 innings and had an ERA of 2.07. Julio Zubillaga, the Southeast Region Most Outstanding Player, was one of the top hitters, batting .353 with nine RBI over the final nine games.
After Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year JJ Jankowski elected for a pro tryout instead of staying with the team for the post-season, the chances of a regional title looked dim for Catawba. Add a loss to Tusculum in the regional opener and the odds were even less, but the Indians reeled off four wins to capture the title and eliminate four of the top seven teams in the country.
Catawba lost its opener 4-3 to Tusculum then got three complete game pitching performances to get to the title game. Nate King shut down top-seed and #4 Mount Olive in a 3-2 win. Ross Whitley tossed a three-hit shutout in an 11-0 victory over #7 Armstrong then John Tuttle avenged the loss to Tusculum with a two-hitter in a 6-1 win to eliminate the #2 Pioneers.
In the regional final, Nick Lomascolo gutted out five innings on two days rest and Craig Brooks shut out #6 Francis Marion over the final three and two thirds innings in an 8-4 win. Chris Dula snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh, driving in three runs over the final three innings. That win sent the Indians to its first-ever College World Series.