In rebounding from a 5-1 loss on Saturday, May 20th, Riverland Community College found a way to overcome the 3rd ranked St. Cloud Technical and Community College on Sunday, May 21st, and in doing so, earned the opportunity to play the 2017 NJCAA Region XIII baseball tournament championship.
The 32-9 Blue Devils will take to the field today needing two wins over Century College to claim the trophy. First pitch of the opening game is scheduled for noon Monday in St. Cloud at the Municipal Athletic Complex- home to both Dick Putz field and Joe Faber Field.
Riverland beat SCTCC in a tightly contested 4-2 game held on the turf at St. John's University, a venue necessary due to the rain which saturated Central Minnesota over much of the weekend. Xaiver Ocasio went the first seven innings against the Cyclones, surrendering eight hits and two earned runs while facing 30 hitters. Francisco Colon came on in relief for the last two innings and shut the door on St. Cloud Technical and Community College, giving up only one hit and no runs, while striking out one.
Offensively, Riverland brought a balanced attack, with four different batters accounting for the 4 Blue Devil's RBI's in the contest. Seven of the nine batters in Riverland's line-up hit safely in the game, with Jake Erickson, Josh Molina and Jacob Zwak all going 2-for-4 on the day.
By earning two wins today, RCC would gain automatic entry into the 2017 NJCAA Division III Baseball national championships which will open play in Greeneville, Tennessee, on May 27th.
Without a double-header sweep, Riverland would still be in contention for an at-large bid to the NJCAA tournament. With several other Region competitions affected by weather over the weekend, it is anticipated the final NJCAA baseball tournament participants will be selected by Wednesday, May 22nd.
To keep up with the NJCAA national tournament process, be sure to go to this link.
For more on MCAC baseball final standings, stats, and more, please click here.
Story courtesy of MCAC Sports