May 24, 2008

Baseball Ends Season On A High Note

May 24, 2008

Box Score

 

EDINBURG, Texas - In the baseball team's final game of the season, the University of Northern Colorado pitched its first shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over New York Institute of Technology (19-31-2) to conclude its season with a 21-33 record. The Bears also go 3-1 at the Division I Independent Tournament to ensure no worse than a tied for second place finish.

 

Senior right-handed pitcher Jason Banks threw the complete game shutout for Northern Colorado, allowing just five hits over nine innings, walking three and striking out five in his final game for the Blue & Gold. Offensively, the Bears scored three runs on 11 hits and committed one error on defense.

 

Both junior designated hitter Kevin Sandberg and senior second basemen Jeff Horn went 2-for-4 on the day, while senior centerfielder Anthony Garcia was 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored and he stole his third base of the year.

 

Banks needed just 10 pitches to get through the first inning, getting one ground out and two to pop up, with a hit batsmen sandwiched between. In the second frame, Banks had runners on first and second after a walk and single with one out, but senior shortstop Cory Morales tracked down a sharply hit grounder up the middle and started the 6-4-3 double play, the Bears' 51st of the season. Banks retired the side in order in the third and recorded his first strikeout of the game.

 

The Bears had just one base runner through the first two innings when senior Chad Murray drew a walk in the first frame. Senior second baseman Jeff Horn nailed a line drive up the middle to lead off the third inning. He was erased on a fielder's choice by Garcia, who swiped his second bag of the tournament and moved to third on a groundout by junior left fielder Andy Mees .

 

Banks again retired the NYIT Bears in order in the fourth inning, getting three fly ball outs. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Sandberg hit a line drive over the shortstop for a single and he moved to second on a walk by sophomore right fielder Mike Raudenbush, but NC was unable to capitalize, stranding both.

 

The first two batters for NYIT reached in the fifth, but senior catcher Erik Whinery caught a pop fly in foul ground for the first out, then he gunned down Bob Garland trying to steal third and caught another pop fly to retire the side.

 

With one out in the fifth, Garcia nailed a double to right center and moved to third on a ground out by Mees, but was again left on the corner.

 

Banks continued to throw well, getting the side out again in order in the sixth.  With one out, Sandberg hit the 44th double of his career to tie for the second most in school history, but was left out on the base paths.

 

Banks struck out two more in the seventh, facing just four batters as he continued to roll. Senior third baseman Adam Symons led off the seventh inning with a home run over the left field wall and Garcia hit one in a similar spot two batters later to give the Bears the 2-0 advantage. Mees then singled to right field and Murray had a Texas leaguer to right field, advancing Mees to third, but they were stranded.

 

In the eighth inning, NYIT got a single to start things off by Richards, but Banks struck out one and got the next two out with the defense behind him and no damage was done.

 

Whinery started the eighth with a single to center and then senior Sean Zyer singled through the left side in a pinch hitting role. Symons laid down a bunt to move both runners up 90 feet and Whinery scored on a single by Horn for the team's third run of the game.

 

Murray made a great diving stop and flipped it to Banks covering first to get Mike LaLuna for the first out of the ninth inning. Effrey Valdez singled to left and moved to second on a ground out and after Banks issued a walk, he got Joe Lucente to hit a fly ball to Murray for the shutout victory.

 

The win marks the fifth straight year the Bears have won in their last contest of the season, all coming at the Division I National Independent Tournament. Northern Colorado says good-bye to 16 seniors with today's conclusion of the 2008 season.