ENID, Okla. — Mesa's Carter Robinson showed pitching is a lost art at the NJCAA Division II World Series at David Allen Memorial Ballpark Sunday.
The Thunderbird sophomore, headed for Louisiana-Lafayette, threw a four-hit shutout and struck out nine in Mesa's 2-0 win over Lincoln Land in a first-round game.
Lincoln Land's Spencer Walker matched Robinson's nine strikeouts over seven and two-thirds innings, but allowed a RBI single by Greg Student in the fourth and a solo homer by Ben Ferguson in the seventh.
"The other guy did a great job,'' Robinson said. "These are the kind of games that crowds love to see. We put on a show for Enid. It was a fun game to watch and a run game to be in.''
It wasn't too fun for the Lincoln Land hitters. The Loggers did not get a runner past second. Chase Kuntzman, who had two of Lincoln Land's four hits, opened the fifth with a double, but was stranded there when Robinson struck out Andy Lopez and got Ben Chapman and Jayden Reed to ground out to second.
"The key was just going out and executing and not let the other team get in your head and staying in your game,'' Robinson said. "I just went out and threw breaking balls on any count and continued to mix it up and trust my stuff.''
Robinson did not walk a batter. His defense committed only one error behind him.
"I just stayed around the zone,'' he said. "I wasn't thinking shutout. I took it one pitch at a time and one inning at a time and things fell into place. You can't rattle me.''
Mesa broke a scoreless tie in the fourth when Taylor Darden walked, went to second on a ground out and scored on a single up the middle by Student.
Ferguson, who had a double in the second, gave Robinson some insurance when he opened the seventh with a home run over the right field fence.
"It was a great team win,'' Robinson said. "A shout out for Ben Ferguson for the home run. He was seeing beach balls today.''
Mesa (41-20) will face Monday's 1 p.m. Madison/Northeast Neb. winner Tuesday. Lincoln Land (37-17) will meet Monroe at 10 a.m. Monday in an elimination game.
NORTHEAST NEB. 13, MONROE 12
The Hawks scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to overcome an 11-9 deficit to win their first-ever Division II World Series game.
Drew Smith went four-for-four with three RBI, a solo homer and four runs scored to pace the Northeast Nebraska attack. Bryce Walker was four-for-four with four RBI and a run scored.
Dylan Nicholson threw three shutout innings after coming into the game in the sixth with the Hawks trailing 11-9.
Brennon Smith of Monroe struck out eight in four innings of relief until the Hawks got to him in the eighth.
Smith was removed for Liam Devine with two outs. He gave up a single to Walker and walked Cale Hlavac. Jackson Tingwald sacrificed the runners up a base but pinch hitter Mills Macek struck out.
Donovan Warren greeted Devine with a two-RBI single to tie the game. Christian Dumont walked. Derek Botaletto singled in Warren to make it 12-11 and Drew Smith followed with another single to tally Dumont.
"It was a great comeback win,'' Smith said. "Everybody had clutch at bats. It was a great testament to what we have done all season. It was a great team effort. I did my part. I was just glad that we came out with the win.''
The Hawks are only in the second year of their program. Their inexperience may have shown early when Monroe scored twice in the first and second, four times in the third and three in the fifth before Nicholson came in to stop the bleeding. The Tribunes scored a run off closer Alex Potter in the ninth to make it 13-12. Logan Martella-Tasick singled to open the inning. He went to second on a wild pitch and scored when catcher Walker over threw home trying to get the ball to Potter after another wild pitch.
Cas Sobaszek, who went three-for-four with five RBI, walked to put the tying run on first but Sam Loew hit into a double play to end the game.
"We had some nerves at the beginning of the game,'' Drew Smith said. "We got settled down. We're used to it. We just came out and came back to our old selves. Nicholson was awesome. He came in and gave us some innings. That was one of his best outings of the year. I was proud of the kid.''
Monroe's Trey Brown was three-for-four with a double and two RBI. T.J. Lucey, who came back after running into the left field wall early in the game, had two RBI. Jake Ramos was three-for-five with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
Warren was two-for-four with two runs scored and two RBI. Botaletto was two-for-five with an RBI.
PEARL RIVER 8, PASCO-HERNANDO 4
Pearl River, the top-seed, was out hit, 8-4, but the Wildcats were able to take advantage of 10 walks, four wild pitches, a passed ball three hit batsmen and a couple of balks to make up the difference.
Noah Barron was two-for-four to pace the Pearl River attack, including a solo homer and a RBI single in the fifth to highlight a three-run inning.
Starting pitcher Miles Smith struck out seven and allowed six hits over five and two-thirds innings. He walked three.
Pearl River, 41-12, scored twice in the second, once in the fourth, three in the fifth and two in the sixth.
The Wildcats needed only two hits in the fifth in which Shemar Page and Dexter Jordan scored on wild pitches. Barron drove in Wiley Cleland, who had walked with a single.
Pearl River didn't need a hit in the sixth when they scored on a balk and a passed ball — the latter which Reece Ewing reached first after striking out.
Pasco-Hernando's Anthony Cassos had three hits in a losing cause. Brayden Lyman and Michael Hydak had back-to-back RBI triples in the fifth. Cassos, who doubled, scored on a Nicholas Alessi sac fly in the sixth. The Bobcats last run came in the seventh on the strength of three walks and a Ryan Ayrey fielders choice.
Losing pitcher Kyle Khachadourian struck out eight in four and two-thirds innings, but walked six and hit two batters.