BARTLESVILLE - The curse of the No. 1 seed continued as the top seeded Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen suffered a 6-0 shutout Friday night to sixth seed Rose State College in the opening round of the Division I Region II Tournament at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.
Coach Roger Ward's Golden Norse carried a 26-28 record into Saturday's elimination game at noon against the Eastern State College Mountaineers. Eastern dropped a 10-7 decision to defending Region II Champion Connors State College Friday afternoon to stand 30-21 on the season.
“We're both in the same boat,” Ward said. “When you drop down to the loser's bracket in this tournament, things get a lot tougher. There's no room for error.”
After a daylong rain delay, the double-elimination tournament resumed Friday with Seminole State College battling the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. The game was resumed in the fourth inning with the UAFS Lions posting a 7-3 victory in nine innings.
Following the NEO-Eastern contest on Saturday, Connors State (40-15) squared off against UAFS (39-18) at 3 p.m. Rose State carried a 20-26 record into a 7 p.m. game with Seminole (32-22).
The winners bracket final game will start at noon on Sunday, and depending on the number of teams remaining in the tournament, games will be played at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The championship game will start at 1 p.m. Monday followed by an “if necessary” game at 4 p.m.
Winner of the Region II Tournament advances to the South Central District Tournament scheduled to start May 18-19. The best two-out-of-three playoff features the Region XVI champion from Missouri.
The NJCAA World Series will be from May 26 to June 2 in Grand Junction, Colo.
“Even after Thursday's rain delay, we had a couple on Friday,” Ward said. “They didn't have any direct effect on either us or Rose State, but it would have been nice to get to play from start to finish without interruptions.”
Rose State reached Golden Norse starting pitcher Adam Hibdon for three runs in the top of the first inning. With one out, Josh Moore singled to center. Brent Weaver followed with a single to left. After Coty Wilson popped out to right, Kyle Looney hit the first pitch over the right-center field fence to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead.
NEO mounted a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth inning. Raymond Rivera walked to start the inning. Carl Moniz grounded into a fielder's choice with Rivera out at second base. Davey Froman lined a single to center. After Marc Mimeault bounced back to the pitcher, Mike Sodders grounded out to short stranding runners at second and third.
“We just couldn't get a hit when we needed it,” Ward said. “A lot of that credit goes to (Jeremy) McBryde. He used his slider very effectively to go with a 94-mph fast ball.”
Two Golden Norse miscues led to three Rose State runs in the top of the eighth inning. Tyler Powell reached on a throwing error by Moniz at shortstop. Moore reached on a fielding error by Steve Anderson at first base.
With a 1-2 count, Weaver hit a three-run home run over the center field wall to increase the Rose State lead to a 6-0 margin.
Hibdon surrendered six runs on six hits in eight innings of work before giving way to D. A. Kremer in the ninth inning. Hibdon stands 5-5 on the season.
“Adam actually threw very well,” Ward said. “Unfortunately, the two pitches he missed with, left the yard. I'm not so sure they both wouldn't have been caught if we had been playing on a regulation field.”
Mimeault collected two of the five Golden Norse singles along with base hits by Froman, Moniz and Anderson.