SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Down by seven runs in the eighth inning, Ohio Dominican's baseball team did not quit but ultimately saw its season end with a 9-7 setback to Southern Indiana on Monday in the title round of the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament.
The Panthers, the No. 4 seed, needed to knock off Southern Indiana (36-21), the No. 7 seed, twice today to reach the NCAA National Championships, but gave up eight runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings and couldn't fully recover.
Trailing 9-2 going to the eighth, ODU struck back with five runs. Joey Machuga (Canfield, Ohio) walked, Jake Collinsworth (Cincinnati, Ohio) singled and Jace Komminsk (Westerville, Ohio) to load the bases.
Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) followed with an infield single that wound up plating two runs as the ball trickled away from the shortstop, and a USI error on the next play resulted in another run for the Panthers to make it 9-7 with a runner on third.
However, a line drive was caught by the first baseman to end that frame, and ODU went down in order in the ninth to close it.
ODU's most successful season in its Division II era ends with a 36-17 record, its most victories since a 40-win campaign in 2008. The Panthers won four straight elimination games from Friday through Sunday to get to this point, and it continued a remarkable turnaround for a program that won 19 games in 2016 and 25 in 2017.
The Panthers hung tough early, putting three runners on board in the first two innings, but couldn't push across a run.
Still scoreless headed to the bottom of the third, USI – which won national titles in 2011 and 2014 and also reached the national championships in 2016 – tallied four runs, then tacked on two more in both the fourth and fifth innings to grab an 8-0 lead.
Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) started the sixth inning with a solo shot to left, his 13th of the spring, but USI countered with a run of its own to regain an eight run lead.
Komminsk and Hull singled in the seventh and Bland delivered a sac fly to right to cut it to 9-2, but the Panthers left two runners on.
Contact: Scott Miles