Yale’s Politz Makes Historic MarkColumns
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Never make assumptions in the NCAA postseason. As coaches often say, anything can happen.
Friday afternoon’s opening game of the Corvallis Regional is a prime example of that. Nebraska, the Big Ten regular season champion, entered the contest as the clear-cut favorite to advance to likely play host and top-seeded Oregon State on Saturday. Yale, though, had other plans with righthander Scott Politz leading the charge in a surprisingly dominant 5-1 win.
“Considering the opponent and the circumstances, I’d have to say that was our most complete outing of the year. To come in here and for this kid [Scott Politz] to do what he did, pretty amazing,” Yale head coach John Stuper said. “He’s done it all year, though. He’s 11-2 and he’s not an All-American, but I don’t know what an All-American looks like. Our guys love to play behind him, and they play really well behind him.”
Looking to play the matchup game in the regional with heavily-favored OSU, Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad chose to start two-way player and lefthander Jake Meyers, not usual first starter Jake Hohensee, against the Bulldogs. Meyers’ start was rather interesting considering the Bulldogs are more used to seeing a soft-tossing lefty like him. And from the get go, Yale was locked in and not fooled by Meyers’ stuff.
Yale set the tone early. Meyers attacked the Bulldogs with a steady diet of soft 82-84 mph fastballs, along with a 72-75 mph changeup. They weren’t thrown off balance, as Tim DeGraw led off the game with a single, followed by singles from Simon Whiteman and Richard Slenker. Stuper’s club suddenly had bases loaded with no outs and made Nebraska pay with a two RBI single from Griffin Dey. To Meyers’ credit, he escaped further damage, but it wouldn’t matter. Yale added a solo home run by Andrew Herrera on a fastball in the second inning, and Politz wouldn’t relinquish that 3-1 advantage the rest of the way.
“He was up in the zone, behind in the count, and you had an infield single, infield single, and a couple of hard-hit balls. They just grinded out at bats against him,” Erstad said. “They stayed in the middle of the field and put pressure on us. I can’t remember the last time we were outcompeted, because that’s what we usually do. But we were outcompeted today.”
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