HARRISONBURG, Va. (May 25, 2013) – Senior right-hander Mike Volpe threw his first career complete game and designated hitter Kurt Wertz drove in three runs as fourth-seeded Towson captured its first CAA Baseball Championship with a 5-2 victory over #2 William & Mary on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Tigers (29-28) earn the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Baseball Championship, whose field will be announced on Monday afternoon. It is Towson’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1991 and its third overall. William & Mary (37-22) will hope for an at-large berth to the NCAA’s after a season in which it tied a school record for victories in a season.
Volpe (9-3) allowed just one hit and no runs over the final five innings and gave up seven hits for the game. He threw 139 pitches in the contest after a 133-pitch effort in the Tigers’ victory over Northeastern in the opening game last Wednesday. Volpe struck out six and walked two.
Wertz finished 2-for-4, including a two-run triple off the right-field wall with two outs in the ninth that gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game. Dominic Fratantuono was 3-for-4 with a home run in the victory, while Zach Fisher, Pat Fitzgerald and Brandon Gonnella contributed two hits apiece.
For William & Mary, second baseman Ryan Lindemuth was 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored to cap an outstanding tournament performance. Lindemuth batted .647 (11-17) with four doubles, two homers, eight runs scored and 12 RBI over four games. Outfielders Jonathan Sarty and Ryan Brown also contributed a pair of hits in the game.
Pitcher Brett Koehler took the loss for the Tribe despite a solid effort. The right-hander gave up 11 hits but only three runs over 8.0 innings.
Both teams got off to quick starts offensively. Wertz smacked his team-leading 13th home run of the season to give Towson the lead in the top of the first. William & Mary responded with a run in the bottom of the frame as Brown lined a leadoff double to right center and scored on Lindemuth’s two-out single.
The Tigers moved back in front in the second when Fratantuono lofted a solo homer over the right-field fence. The Tribe pulled even in the third after Lindemuth opened the frame with a double to left and scored when Sarty bounced a single into left.
In the fifth, Towson’s Gonnella singled to right, moved around on an errant pickoff throw and a groundout, and scored on Fisher’s RBI single up the middle that made it 3-2.
The Tigers created some breathing room for Volpe in the ninth. Gonnella and Fitzgerald each had singles, setting the stage for Wertz’ line drive off the fence in right.
Fisher was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after batting .476 (10-21) with three homers, five runs scored and 10 RBI over four games. He was joined on the all-tournament squad by Towson teammates Volpe, Wertz, Fratantuono and Andrew Parker.
Named to the team from William & Mary were Lindemuth, Sarty, Michael Katz and William Shaw. Rounding out the team were UNCW pitcher Jordan Ramsey, JMU outfielder Cole McInturff and Northeastern shortstop Jason Vosler.