Thomas Caufield hit a 3-run home run to lift the Millersville Marauders to a 6-5 victory over UIndy in the first game of NCAA Division II Championship Tournament after sweeping PSAC Champion and then-No. 8 ranked Seton Hill in the Super Regional.
Millersville scored once in the sixth and three times in the seventh to rally for the 6-5 victory and hand UIndy its first loss of the postseason.
It is the third trip to Cary, North Carolina where the game playoffs are being hosted, under Coach Jon Shehan, who previously won regional championships in 2011 and 2016. Millersville is playing in its 10th-straight NCAA Tournament, which is the longest active streak of any team in the Atlantic Region.
This is the 11th overall appearance for Shehan in his 15 seasons as the head coach. Millersville was granted the No. 1 seed among the final eight teams, boasting a 45-8 record against the 11th-toughest schedule in all of Division II. The only team remaining with a better strength of schedule than Millersville is Rollins, which is on the same side of the bracket. Millersville’s .849 winning percentage is also second only to Angelo State’s .852.
They will play Rollins in Game 2 on Monday June 5th at 6PM EST.
Check out the video highlights.
SCOUTING THE MARAUDERS
Millersville closed the regular season with 14 wins in their final 15 games, and that lone loss was by one run to PSAC runner-up and NCAA regional qualifier West Chester. After scoring one run and losing in the first round of the PSAC Tournament to Indiana (Pa.), Millersville won all five NCAA regional games, averaging 8.0 runs and 12.8 hits per game. In the Super Regional, Millersville scored 20 runs and hit six home runs against Seton Hill, which entered the series with the No. 2-ranked ERA in the nation.
The No. 2 ERA in Division II now belongs to Millersville (3.27), which held the No. 1 spot until after the Super Regional. Millersville’s pitching staff has been a strength all season, ranking second in WHIP (1.23), second in hits allowed per nine innings (7.60), 14th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.54) and 19th in walks allowed per nine innings (3.43). Millersville allowed more than four runs just 16 times and still managed to go 12-4 in those games.
At the plate, Millersville boasts six regular starters hitting over .300 with a .400 or higher OBP. The top five hitters in the lineup are all hitting .341 or higher, and all five have at least 14 doubles. Four of the five have stolen double-digit bases. A key to success in the postseason has been the production of the bottom half of the lineup. Justin Taylor has hit .385 with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs in his last four games after receiving just nine starts in the team’s first 48 games. Millersville’s No. 6, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 hitters combined for five home runs in the two wins over Seton Hill.
Sam Morris and Keegan Soltis have been particularly hot at the plate in the NCAA Tournament. Morris had a run of eight hits in eight at-bats to start the regional and went 13-for-23 (.565) with 11 RBIs in the five games. Keegan Soltis hit .474 with six RBIs, and Bren Taylor hit .455 with 10 runs scored. Soltis is riding an 18-game hitting streak into the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Playing in close games or playing from behind won’t phase the Marauders. Millersville is 9-2 in one-run games and 15-5 in games decided by two runs or fewer. Millersville trailed into the fourth inning in three of the five NCAA playoff games and were tied into the fifth against Charleston. The fourth and fifth innings–the second time through the lineup–are Millersville’s most productive innings. The team has scored over 33% of their runs (131 total) in those two innings. Millersville’s magic number is six. The Marauders are 32-0 when scoring six or more runs.