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McMurry Drops Pair at NCAA Regional Baseball Championship
May 25, 2004

Courtesy of McMurry Sports Information

American Southwest Conference champion McMurry University dropped both games at the NCAA Baseball Regional Championship Tournament in Bloomington, Ill., last weekend to complete its 2004 season.

The Indians (29-15) posted a 9-4 loss to Simpson in Thursday’s (May 20) opening round, then exited the national tournament with a 16-4 loss to Aurora University on Friday (May 21).

No. 3-seed Simpson scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break open a close game, downing No. 4-seed McMurry 9-4, the Indians’ first loss after six consecutive victories. The Simpson Storm improved to 30-14 on the strength of home runs by Troy Hatten, Mike Donnenwerth and Brett Murphy--the latter a two-run blast over the left-center field wall to help turn a 5-4 lead into a 9-4 cushion.

McMurry’s Seth Ardoin hit his eighth homer of the season in the top of third, with a man on, to stake the Indians to a 3-2 advantage. That lasted until the fifth when the Storm scored two runs on Hatten's two-run homer to right to regain the lead 4-3. McMurry tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh as Lewis Mickley's RBI single plated Josh Lee, who had a leadoff double down the left field line. Mickley had four of the Indians' 10 hits, and Lee, Ardoin and Greg Erickson added two apiece.

McMurry was its own worst enemy by leaving 13 runners on base, committing a season-high four errors and allowing two unearned runs.

Upstart No. 6 seed Aurora scored 14 unanswered runs over the final four innings en route to a 16-4 victory Friday to eliminate McMurry from the NCAA Division III Regional Championship. The Spartans went on to beat Simpson 7-5 on Saturday (May 22), and took the regional title and a Div. III College World Series berth with a 21-4 victory over Carthage in Sunday’s (May 23) championship game.

After spotting Aurora a 2-0 lead after two innings, McMurry struck back for four runs of its own in the bottom of the third inning. Lee, Ardoin and Erickson hit back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles to highlight the frame.

But the Spartans reclaimed the lead for good at 5-4 with three runs in the sixth and then erupted for six more in the next inning to put the game away. AU had another five runs in the top of the ninth. Dan Gregory led the Aurora offense, which banged out a tourney-high 23 hits, by going 3-for-6 with three runs scored and he drove-in another six runs.

Albert Carrizales, Jason Gotcher and Lee each had two hits to pace the Indians, who left 14 runners on base vs. Aurora.

Josh Lee represented McMurry on the All-Regional team. The senior infielder/pitcher was the No. 2 hitter in the regional, batting .571 (4-for-7) with a pair of doubles and three walks. Lee also pitched one game (7.1 innings), striking-out six while allowing 12 hits and nine runs against Simpson.

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