Adam Gordon, a fifth-year centerfielder from Dollard des Ormeaux, Que., batted 4-for-5 with three walks, three runs, a double, one home run and a pair of RBIs as McGill swept a doubleheader on Sunday, winning 6-2 in extra innings and 7-3, to upset the second-place Ottawa Gee-Gees and win a best-of-three semifinal series.
The Redmen advance to the Northern Conference finals against fourth-place Carleton next weekend but also qualified for the Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association national championship, a six-team tournament to be held in Ottawa, Oct. 19-21. It marks the fifth time in the past eight years that McGill has qualified for Nationals. The Redmen claimed the national title in 2006 and 2010.
In the first game, McGill rallied with one run in the seventh inning to tie the score at 2-2, then won it in the eighth, taking advantage of five walks and a two-run double by Max Tierno of Manhattan, N.Y., to produce four more runs.
“We needed to get the leadoff guy (Tyler Wellence, who walked) on base and that kind of sparked the rally,” said team captain Casey Auerbach of Westmount, Que. “The guys were pretty optimistic that we could get the job done as we’ve been coming from behind all year. We have a lot of heart and just keep battling hard until the job is done.”
Daniel Porter picked up the win, pitching two innings in relief of starter Nolan Werre of St. Albert, Alta. Porter, a junior from Coaticook, Que, who led the league with four saves during the regular season, allowed only one hit, walked two and struck out as many.
In the nightcap, McGill managed to produce seven runs despite only getting four hits. They snapped a 2-2 tie with Gordon’s solo homer in the third inning, then added four in the fourth. The Redmen loaded the bases on an error followed by a couple of walks. A wild pitch put McGill ahead 4-2.
Auerbach then smacked a two-run double to right-centre, followed by an RBI double by Gordon, who went 2-for-2, walked twice and knocked in two.
Elliott Ariganello collected the win, scattering five hits over five innings of work. The third-year starter from Etobicoke, Ont., allowed three earned runs, walked three, hit two batters and stuck out one. He was relieved over the final two innings by Justin Hii of Mississauga, Ont., who walked one and struck out two.
McGill, which is 11-7 overall, including a 9-7 third-place finish in the regular season, will now meet the Carleton Ravens (8-8) in the CIBA Northern Conference best-of-three final. The series opens with a doubleheader on Saturday at Gary Carter Field in Trudeau Park in Cote St. Luc. The games are slated for 12 noon and 3 p.m. If a rubber match is needed, it will be in Ottawa on Sunday at noon.
The winner will get a higher seed at Nationals. Carleton upset first-place Concordia with a sweep in their semifinal series. Because the Ravens have already qualified for the Nationals as host team, McGill also earns the division’s second berth for the CIBA tourney, which will also feature two Ontario Conference finalists – the St. Clair College Saints (14-2) of Windsor, Ont., and the Durham College Lords (9-7) from Oshawa, as well as two finalists from the Atlantic Conference, the Crandall University Chargers (9-3) from Moncton, N.B., and the Cape Breton University Capers (7-3).