By Patrick Codo
Last night was the 2015 NCAA National Championship between the Villanova Wildcats, and the North Carolina Tar Heels. There were a lot of other games to remember during the 2016 march madness tournament but this game was probably the best one to remember. North Carolina’s senior guard Marcus Paige hit a game tying shot with 4 seconds left in regulation and thought they were going into overtime right? Wrong, despite Villanova’s junior forward Kris Jenkins having 14 points, three of those mattered as he hit the game winning shot as time expired to clinch Villanova its first national championship since 1985 when they beat top seeded Georgetown 66-64, and that is when the Hoyas had Patrick Ewing. This one they beat North Carolina who was head coached by the long time man Roy Williams.
This win for the Wildcats was their second in school history and the first for head coach Jay Wright. The leading scorer came off of the bench for Villanova as Sophomore Guard Phil Booth lead the Wildcats with 20 points. The Wildcats were hoping that senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono would try to win the game but he had to something to say about putting the ball into the hands of Kris Jenkins. Arcidiacono stated “If I could get a shot, I was going to shoot it,” said Arcidiacono, who finished with 16 points and two assists, one more memorable than the other. “But I heard someone screaming in the back of my head. It was Kris. I just gave it to him and he let it go with confidence.” That was the right thing for him to do and Kris Jenkins won the game.
The Tar Heels have seen this atmosphere before and were not going to go down without a fight. Marcus Paige the senior guard for North Carolina lead the Tar Heels with 21 points, and 5 rebounds. Roy Williams was looking for his third national title but he came up short of it. Tears did flow from the 65-year-old man who possibly could have worked his last game on the sideline due to the fact that the entire sports program at Chapel Hill is under NCAA scrutiny and awaiting possible penalties for a long running academic-fraud case. Williams after the game said, “I’m not very good because I can’t take away the hurt,” Williams said. “I told them I loved them. I told them I wish I could have helped them more.” Although when he saw the shot go he said, “It was helpless. It was not a good feeling.” What Williams said is true but he should still be a proud man getting his team to the national championship for the first time in seven years when they beat Michigan State 89-72.
At the start of the second half the Tar Heels had a 41-34 lead and then Villanova went on a 33-18 run to open things up and take 67-57 lead with 5 minutes left. With under two minutes left in the game Villanova had 70-64 lead and then North Carolina went on a 10-4 run to tie it up at 74 but that just left Kris Jenkins alive to nail the game winner and clinch Villanova its second national title in 31 years. Both teams had a really good season. Villanova finished with a record of 35-5 and North Carolina finished its season with a record of 33-7.
By: Joe Frye
After a 9-5 loss on Friday and an offensive explosion leading to a 13-3 win on Saturday, a betting man would only expect for another shootout on Sunday. But a betting man wouldn’t haver been aware of sophomore Michael Baird, who could be considered SIU’s ace now. His strong 7 1/3 inning performance led to a 3-2 victory over the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State. It wasn’t a dominant lights out performance full of strikeouts for Baird but a lot of ground balls, limiting damage in the sixth inning where Jacksonville State their only two runs and a huge double play to end the seventh inning where the Gamecocks were threatening with men on base. Baird moves to 5-1 on the year and still owns an era south of 2.00, this stat could put him into consideration for the title of “ace of the staff.”
As for the Saluki bats, all the damage was done in the third inning. Junior and WIDB member Will Farmer led off the inning with a single and later junior Dyllin Mucha singled as well. That set up a huge chance for junior Jake Hand to put the Dawgs on the board, and he came through with an opposite field triple. Hand would later score on an rbi single from sophomore first baseman Logan Blackfan, and that would do it for the Dawgs on the scoreboard. Hand and Blackfan combined for an 0-8 day on Friday, so a comeback game for them is a good sign for the Salukis as they march on the rest of the season.
The Gamecocks showed this weekend what a senior-led high powered offense can do. But Baird was just too much to handle on Sunday. Both Gamecock runs were scored in the sixth inning, sophomore Clayton Daniel drove in one run with a double and then later senior Tyler Gamble drove Daniel in with an rbi single. The Gamecocks hit into two later double plays, which have been a common occurrence for the Saluki defense who lead the MVC in double plays turned. A huge double play got the first two outs in the seventh inning, an inning where Baird looked to be in early trouble. And Itchy Jones was full of fist pumps as the game ended on a 4-6-3 double play. Sophomore Ryan Nettemeyer came in relief in the eight inning and got the final five outs.
The Dawgs now move to 17-10 on the year and will face the Belmont Bruins on Tuesday in a non conference match-up. You can listen to that broadcast on WIDB.net the Revolution, Daniel Hartmann and Jeremy Sneed will be on the call at 5 o clock with pregame at 4:50.
By: Joe Frye
Like coffee and samples at your local grocery store, the best things in life are free. Mother nature provided free wind on Saturday to help SIU lift three homers en route to a 13-3 win over Jacksonville State. This win comes after a loss on Friday, so the rubber match will decide the winner of this non-conference three game series. The Salukis were led on the mound by junior Chad Whitmer who had a quality start, going six innings and only allowing two runs on nine hits. Junior Jacob Williams cam on in relief and and southpaw freshman Seth Hackett came in and got the final six outs. In the batters box eight of the nine Saluki starters notched at least one hit.
WIDB member and junior Will Farmer batted in the nine spot but arguably was most effective, reaching base in all four at-bats. His fellow partner in the middle infield, sophomore Connor Kopach, but the dagger in the Gamecock coffin in sixth inning with a three run homer. Kopeck drove in five Dawgs while freshman Jared Schmidt drove in two runs with a third inning homer to give the Salukis their initial lead, and they never looked back. Sophomore Drew Curtis picked up his first Southern Illinois hit yesterday, and picked up his first RBI, today he notched his first SIU home run, a solo shot in the fifth. Southern batted around the lineup in seventh inning and scored six runs.
For Jacksonville State, senior Elliot McCummings continued his hot streak with an RBI single, and senior Tyler Gamble drove in another un in the third, with an RBI double. Starting pitcher Jack Pierce, a sophomore, went five innings and only allowing four runs, but when he handed the torch to junior Joe McGuire, the Gamecocks winning chances were out of reach. The Salukis roughed up McGuire for seven runs, five earned in under two innings.
The Gamecocks and Salukis will play their final game of the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. Tune into WIDB.net for the broadcast. SIU will send out sophomore Michael Baird, a young player who SIU has been able to rely on as of late. Jacksonville State has yet to announce who they will have pitch.
By: Joe Frye
There are thousands of baseball recaps that exist that begin with “In baseball, its the little things that are most important.” This is not going to be very different because, guess what? It was in fact the little things in baseball that hurt the SIU Salukis in their 9-5 loss to Ohio Valley Conference foe, Jacksonville State. The now 18-7 Gamecocks took advantage of walks and early errors to jump out to a first inning lead and never look back. The senior leadership of Jacksonville State overwhelmed the young Dawgs for another home loss. After seesawing through the first four innings the biggest momentum swing happened in the top of the fifth, where the smallest decision changed the landscape at “The Itch.”
After a rocky fourth inning, junior Saluki ace Joey Marciano had a bunt land in front of him by senior leadoff pest Gavin Golsan. With Golsan flying down the first base line, instead of throwing the ball to first with any force, Marciano, last minute, decided to underhand toss the ball to the first baseman, sophomore Logan Blackfan. Golden was safe by a step, and then, like clockwork, the baseball Gods showed up from the skies above Itchy Jones Stadium and started driving the ship. Two batters later Gamecock slugger Paschal Petronoglo, a senior, slugged a two run homer, making the score 5-3. Petro was the gas in the Jacksonville State vehicle as he led the Gamecocks with 3 rbi’s including another solo homer in the eighth as he and fellow senior Tyler Gamble went back-to-back that eventually sent Marciano to the dugout. The Gamecocks tallied nine hits and five walks including a two double day for senior outfielder Elliot Cummings.
For the Dawgs the biggest head-scratcher was the tough day by the middle of their lineup. Junior Jake Hand and Blackfan combined for an 0-8 afternoon. Five separate Salukis grabbed rbi’s, including junior Dyllin Mucha who had himself a two-hit day with a single and double while driving in a run. Marciano gutted out a 7 1/3 innings performance accompanied by four strikeouts, and only two walks. He moves to 2-3 on the year. Redshirt junior Anthony Shimkus and junior Austin McPherson came in and finished off the rest of the eighth and ninth inning. With this loss the Salukis fall to 15-10, and will try to bounce back with game two tomorrow, during this three game homestead.