YORK, Pa. – The Lesley University baseball team became the third New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) to win a NCAA Regional game after defeating fourth-seeded RIT, 6-5, in 15 innings Friday afternoon at PeoplesBank Park. The Lynx eliminated the nationally ranked Tigers from the Mid-Atlantic Regional with the win.
Junior right-hander Jeff Heinz earned the win improving to 2-2 on the season after tossing five scoreless innings of relief. In addition to striking out four Tigers, Heinz managed to get himself out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the 11th inning to keep the game tied at 5-5.
The 15-inning game is tied for the fourth-longest game (by innings) in NCAA Division III playoff history.
In the bottom of the 15th inning, sophomore second baseman Vincent Taliercio started the one-out rally with a single to second base. First year leftfielder Steven DePalma singled through the right side, advancing Taliercio to third base to have runners at the corners. Then sophomore Ryan Pumphret hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Taliercio for the game-winning run.
Lesley (22-18-1) opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning when senior third baseman Mike Slaby hit a two-out RBI-single to center field to take a 1-0 lead.
The Lynx continued in the third inning with four runs to extend their lead to 5-0. Taliercio singled to third, and then DePalma doubled to left field to put two runners in scoring position. Pumphret scored both baserunners with a two-RBI double down the right-field line. First year first baseman Matthew Warner followed with an RBI-double to left center, and before sophomore backstop Jacob Cervantes hit an RBI-single to right center.
RIT's (33-9) Navada Waterman ended junior right-hander Nick Iadevaio's no-hitter through 4-and-2/3 innings with a single up the middle. Will Gorman then hit an RBI-single to right field to get the Tiger's on the board. A check-swing single to third base by Brett Kajganich scored another run and put runners on the corners. Iadevaio got out of the jam, but RIT cut the deficit to 5-2 in the top of the fifth.
The Tigers added one run on one hit in the top of the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 5-3.
In the top of the ninth, RIT put runners on the corner with no outs. A line drive to Taliercio and a quick throw to first base to get the runner heading back turned two.
However, Gorman, with a 2-2 count and two outs, launched a two-run home run over the right field wall to tie the game at 5-5.
After a scoreless bottom of the ninth, neither team scored from the 10th to the 14th innings.
Lesley will face the loser of the game between No. 3 Wheaton (Mass.) and No. 2 Shenandoah on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.
It is the fourth time the NECC Champion won a regional game. Daniel Webster College defeated MIT in 2013 before Mitchell College defeated Division III baseball powerhouse Eastern Connecticut State University in 2014 and 2016.