Five-Run Fourth, Backman’s Complete Game Lift Monroe Mustangs Baseball over Potomac State; Mustangs
BEL AIR, Md., May 11, 2019 – Behind a complete-game from starter Brandon Backman and a big five-run fourth inning, the Monroe College Mustangs baseball team punched its ticket to the Eastern District Championship finals on Saturday with a 6-1 victory over No. 3-seed Potomac State College of WVU. The Mustangs now stand one win away from their second straight district title, while the Catamounts face elimination later on Saturday. Iasid Bernal beat out an infield single to lead off the second, and then Neifi Mercedes laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. With two outs, Joe Rosselli drew a walk to get two runners on. Gustavo Gonzalez then smacked the first pitch he saw right up the middle, bringing in Bernal to put the Mustangs on top, 1-0. Joel Spishock hit a one-out double to right, and then Dale Houser dropped a bloop single into right-center to put runners on the corners for the Catamounts in the top of the fourth. With two down, a passed ball allowed Spishock to come home from third, tying the game at 1-1. Mercedes roped a one-out double to right in the bottom of the fourth. Adner Mercado then drew a walk, and a passed ball moved Mercedes over to third. Rosselli then drew another walk to load the bases. Gonzalez then hit a hard ground ball through the legs of the third baseman, bringing in two runs to put the Mustangs on top, 3-1. Freddy Rojas Jr. then pulled one just through the hole on the right side, plating another two runs with a single to push the lead to 5-1. Joseph Encarnacion then lined a double down the left-field line, bringing in Rojas to lift the Mustangs to a 6-1 advantage. Backman went the complete nine innings for the Mustangs on Saturday, allowing no earned runs and just two hits while striking out five batters to pick up the win and run his season record to 8-2. Colt Webb took the loss for the Catamounts to fall to 7-4. Rojas finished 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored in the win. Gonzalez also batted 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Encarnacion and Mercedes both went 1-for-4 with a double, with Encarnacion picking up and RBI and Mercedes scoring a run. Leandy Castro and Bernal both hit 1-for-4 as well, with Bernal scoring a run in the second. Rosselli went 0-for-1, but walked three times and scored a run. The Mustangs await their championship opponent, which will be decided after the final two games of Day 2 of the Eastern District Championship Tournament. Monroe's next game is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 12, needing just one win to claim the Mustangs' second straight district title.