Appleton, Wis. - With an opening win at the 2017 NCAA Division III Baseball Championships the Cal Lutheran baseball team will square off against No. 7 seed North Central (Ill.) (30-16) tonight, May 27 at 5:45 p.m. PT at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
The No. 3 seed Kingsmen (36-10) held off a late rally by No. 6 Wheaton (Mass.) to win their first game of the College World Series and are now 3-3 all-time in CWS opening games.
Winners of 10 in a row and 28 of their last 32 games, the Violet and Gold were led by a dominant pitching performance from ace Marshall Pautsch, who struck out 10 through eight innings, and got timely hitting from Max Weinstein and Trey Saito, who both went 2-for-4 in the opener.
Nate Wehner is expected to make the game two start for CLU after transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation earlier this season. The junior right hander is 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA in 94.1 innings and shut down a loaded Centenary (La.) team in the West Regional.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, upset No. 2 seed UMass-Boston 5-2 to advance to the Pool B winner's bracket. Right fielder Sing Fong and first basemen Nick Sotiros led North Central at the plate with two hits apiece while starter Austin Polezoes went the distance for the complete game allowing just four hits and two runs while striking out two.
For the year, third basemen Michael Mateja is batting .405 to lead the team out of the leadoff spot while Sotiros is batting .351 with seven homeruns and designated hitter John Carmody is hitting .345 with five homeruns and 32 RBIs.
On the mound, North Central may look to Evan Blunk (6-2) with a 3.17 ERA in 54 innings pitched or Russell Hoh (6-1) with a 4.34 ERA in 56 innings. Other pitchers in the mix will be top relievers Anthony Serafini and Nick Rogalski, who have both made 25 appearances this season and have ERAs of 2.78 and 3.75, respectively.
The other Pool B game on Saturday is between Umass-Boston and Wheaton (Mass.) in an elimination game. The winner between the two Massachusetts schools will advance to play the loser of tonight's game between CLU and North Central at 11:15 a.m. PT on Sunday while the winner's will play Sunday night at 5:45 p.m. PT in the Pool B final.
Tournament Central: 2017 NCAA Division III Baseball Championships
Watch: Cal Lutheran vs. North Central
Live Stats: Cal Lutheran vs. North Central
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