CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA >> The Rowan baseball team’s memorable season came to an end as Cortland rallied with four runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Profs, 4-2, in the elimination round of the NCAA Division III World Series June 5.
Rowan took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when catcher Jared Marks doubled and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Trip McCaffrey. Marks then scored on an RBI single by Victor Cruz to give Rowan its only run of the game.
Starting pitcher Eli Atiya kept the Red Dragons off the scoreboard and got out of a jam in the seventh. With a Cortland runner on second, he came through with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cortland’s Ben Rhodes doubled and then scored when Andrew Michalski laid down a bunt and Cruz charged, but his throw to first was wide. Michalski made it to third on the throw and then scored the go-ahead run when Matthew Krafft singled up the middle, giving Cortland a 2-1 lead.
Rowan closer Zach Listro entered the game for Atiya and Krafft scored the insurance run when Colin BeVard hit a ground-run double down the right-field line. The Red Dragons added another run on a double steal as Paul Franzese stole home, and although Rowan’s Marks appeared to have tagged him out at the plate, the call was changed after an umpires’ review, giving Cortland a 4-1 lead.
The Profs were down to their last three outs and Marks started a potential rally with a lead-off double in the ninth. He moved to third on a ground out by pinch hitter Michael Manganella and scored as Ryan McIsaac doubled. But Bailey Gauthier, who earned the win for Cortland, got the final two outs of Rowan’s season.
Marks was 2-for-3 in the game for the Profs, and scored both runs, while the Profs had nine hits. Atiya (9-2) had six strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched.
The game started almost three hours past its scheduled start time of 4:30 p.m. CT due to the length of the day’s first two games, which included a 12-inning contest between Washington St. Louis and St. Thomas.
Rowan ends its memorable season with a 29-6 record, having won its first regional championship since 2005 and making its sixth appearance in the Division III World Series.