Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Steve Solloway email@example.com
APPLETON, Wis. - Freshman Shyler Scates will be the University of Southern Maine's starting pitcher Friday when it opens the NCAA Division III national tournament against Millsaps College.
Coach Ed Flaherty decided to give expected starter Logan Carman another day to recover from a bruise he suffered Saturday in the championship victory against Endicott College in the New England regional.
"Carman's not quite ready," said Flaherty. "Every day we can buy for Logan will help him. If we happen to lose this first game (of the double-elimination tournament), he'll pitch in the second game."
Scates was part of USM's pitching rotation throughout the season. The 6-foot-4, 180- pound graduate of Erskine Academy has a 5-1 record and 3.89 earned-run average.
Flaherty won't hesitate to go to Andrew Richards, whose two victories in one day in the regional tournament helped USM advance to the championship game.
Carman has a 12-0 record.
Flaherty doesn't know much about Millsaps, a small private college of fewer than 1,000 students in Jackson, Miss. This will be Millsaps' first appearance in the national tournament.
After watching video of Millsaps' games this season and looking at the Majors' statistics, Flaherty expects them to "put the ball in play."
Millsaps had a team batting average of .339. USM as a team hit .347.
"They go deep in the count, steal bases and play small ball. Scates throws strikes. I want to avoid giving (Millsaps) walks and giving them baserunners."
Six players in the Millsaps lineup have 10 stolen bases or more.
USM catcher Matt Verrier has thrown out 13 of 21 runners on stolen-base attempts this season.
Millsaps catcher Wes Perkins is a first-team All-American. He led his team with a .428 batting average and 60 RBI. He shares the team home run lead of four with Keith Shumaker, an infielder who hit .374 with 51 RBI.
The virus that bothered USM in the regional tournament has abated. Flaherty still isn't sure about Forrest Chadwick's ability to play center field. Chadwick had a severe muscle pull in his leg in the regional tournament and missed a game.
Chadwick improved over the final two days and was the designated hitter. He hit successfully but ran the bases at half-speed with a noticeable limp. He's hitting .388 with seven home runs and 39 RBI.
Nick Grady leads the team with a .417 average and school- record 90 hits. Tucker White has 10 home runs.
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