The No. 3 Central Missouri Mules never got the bats going at the D-II World Series, and were eliminated in a pitcher’s duel by No. 6 Millersville (Pa.) 1-0 on Monday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
Central Missouri (49-10) surrendered a run in the top of the first inning, and got strong pitching performances from starter Kurtis Schuyler (Wichita, Kan.), along with relievers Aaron Baker (Belton, Mo.) and Travis Unthank (Lenexa, Kan.), but it wasn’t enough, as the Mule offense failed to score for just the second time all season.
MU (44-11) scored on a two-out RBI single to right, after Derek Kline hit a dribbling single to third base, followed by a steal of second.
The Mules were limited to just three hits, but drew six walks in the contest, as Millersville pitchers were effectively wild. Starter Mike McMonagle gave up only two hits and walked five through the first 6.1 innings, before making way for reliever Jason Long, who gave up only one hit in 1.2 frames of work.
The closer, Zach Eckley, gave up a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth, and he was sacrificed to second before a ground out moved him to third with two outs. The Mules were unable to capitalize with a big hit, a theme that had taken place all day. UCM stranded eight runners, six of which were in scoring position, and three left at third base.
The biggest threat looked to be in the fifth inning though, when senior second baseman Tyler Anthony (Overland Park, Kan.) drew a leadoff walk. After a line drive to right field by Tyler Ruch (Mesa, Ariz.) was snagged by the right fielder, the Marauders tried a pick-off attempt that got by the first baseman Kline, helping Anthony move past second and head for third. A long, looping throw by Kline from the dirt on the right line was a perfect strike though, hitting the third baseman in the glove on the base to get Anthony on a bang-bang play.
Bret Schwartz (Blue Springs, Mo.), Nick DeBiasse (Lawrence, Kan.), and Will Mulligan (O’Fallon, Mo.) recorded the hits for UCM.
The Mules finish their season with an MIAA Regular Season title, an MIAA Tournament championship, and the NCAA South Central Region crown, making their 16th NCAA-II Championships appearance.