CARY, N.C. (NGU SID)– North Greenville, the No. 2 seed and the defending NCAA Division II National Champions, needed a four-run eighth inning to win its first game at the 2023 NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina on Sunday night.
Facing seventh-seeded Augustana (S.D.) for the first time in program history, Vikings’ (47-20) right-handed pitcher Seth Miller (11-2) held the Crusaders (50-9) to one hit over seven innings, before a Bryce Roddey leadoff single in the eighth sparked a four-run rally.
Cory Bivins followed Roddey with a base hit, before two quick outs threatened to derail the rally for the Tigerville, South Carolina program. However, Pat Monteith collected his second hit of the game and John Micheal Faile, the NCAA Division II career home run and RBI leader, added to his impressive resume with a two-run double for the 2-1 lead. Marek Chlup followed with a two-run home run for some insurance runs in the eventual 4-1 win.
Reece Fields of North Greenville took a no-decision but pitched remarkably for the Crusaders as he allowed one run on two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts over seven innings. The lone blemish came in the firth as a leadoff triple scored on a sacrifice fly. Michael Rodriguez (6-0) earned the win as he tossed a perfect 1.2 innings of relief with one strikeout.
Rodriguez entered in the top of the eighth with runners at second and third and one out and got some help from his defense as he induced a flyout to left and Zach Zarra gunned down the runner at the plate to keep it a one-run game.
Monteith paced the offense with a 2-for-3 game and a run scored with Faile and Chlup each had one hit, drove in two and scored once. Three different Vikings had a hit in the contest.
The Crusaders will face third-seeded Angelo State in a rematch from last season when North Greenville set World Series records with 18 runs and a 15-run victory which were both top marks since the event returned to Cary in 2009. The Rams are 52-9 this season and defeated sixth-seeded Southern New Hampshire, 2-1.