Blue Jays Fall in NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Opener

Blue Jays Fall in NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Opener

Courtesy of Elizabethtown Athletic Communications

YORK, Pa. -- Elizabethtown scored a pair of runs and brought the winning run to the plate four times in the ninth inning, but  could not erase a four-run deficit in dropping its NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional opener, 8-6, to Wheaton (Mass.) on Thursday evening at PEOPLEsBank Park in York.

Brian Portillo drove in four runs, including three on a bases-clearing double that got the Blue Jays on the board in the sixth. Elizabethtown (27-16) loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth and clawed back within two before its rally fizzled out against closer Joe Bongiovanni.

Wheaton (24-14) broke out early against E-town starter Kevin Elwell with two runs on four hits in the first. The Lyons turned back-to-back triples to start the second into two more runs and a 4-0 lead.

The Lyons would score one more in the third to make it 5-0 and were able to answer Portillo's three-run double with three runs of their own in the sixth. Zach Goodwin-Boyd delivered the big blow with a two-run homer to left center that extended Wheaton's lead to 8-3.

The Landmark champion Blue Jays staged a number of late-inning rallies during the regular season and showed they weren't going to go away quietly.

Designated hitter Nick Bein doubled down the left field line to score Nick Lorenz in the eighth as E-town cut Wheaton's lead to 8-4. Bein would get to third, but Zach Pipa got Kyle Fackler to fly out to center to end the threat.

Earlier in the game, Fackler moved past Adam Sheibley to take over the program's career at-bats record with his 568th.

Elizabethtown, making its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2009, quickly loaded the bases against Paul McGeehan in the ninth.

Richy Masciarelli singled, Colby Smith was hit by a pitch and Mike Christy singled to bring the winning run to the plate in the form of Lorenz. The junior shortstop was the first batter to face Bongiovanni and took a 2-1 pitch on the left shoulder, allowing Masciarelli to score.

Portillo kept the comeback alive with a single into left, trimming the Lyons' advantage to 8-6. Bongiovanni would steady the ship, however. Bein flied out to left, center fielder Matt Cook got to Anrew Coleman's liner just in time to prevent a potential game-tying hit and Frank Ragozzino hit into a game-ending fielder's choice.

Lorenz stood out for the Blue and Gray at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Portillo and Bein were each 2 for 5 as the Blue Jays collected 11 hits.

Eight of Wheaton's 14 hits went for extra bases. Goodwin-Boyd homered, doubled twice, scored twice and drove in a pair --both on his sixth-inning home run. Josh LaJoie, Cook, Tyler Walsh and Nick Raposo each had two hits for the Lyons, whose 1-5 hitters combined to go 11 for 25.

Wheaton starting pitcher Mike Bruemmel struck out six and allowed just one run on six hits in five innings for his fourth win of the year. Elwell suffered the loss, giving up eight runs --all earned-- across six innings. The senior from Clarks Summit fanned five.

Elizabethtown will play an elimination game Friday at 1:15 p.m. against Thursday night's Shenandoah/SUNY Maritime loser.