Cody Ellerbee put on a dazzling pitching performance as the No. 3 Tyler Junior College Apaches scored an impressive win on Saturday at Mike Carter Field.
With Ellerbee throwing strikes and stellar defense behind him, TJC opened the NJCAA Division III World Series with a 7-0 victory over the No. 2 St. Cloud (Minn.) Technical & Community College Cyclones.
The six-day tournament is presented by Wells Fargo Advisors Tyler Texas Office.
It was a game many of the 700-plus fans enjoyed as breakfast at Mike Carter Field was served.
Ellerbee (8-2) allowed only two hits in eight innings of work. He had five strikeouts and allowed just one walk.
Jacob French finished up in the ninth, allowing two hits, but striking out the side.
TJC (37-18) advances to meet Joliet (Ill.) Junior College (34-29) at 4 p.m. today.
Joliet opened with a 10-0 six-inning win over Nassau (N.Y.) Community College.
St. Cloud (43-8) plays an elimination game with Nassau (23-17) at 9 a.m.
Ellerbee was in command throughout, throwing just 79 pitches. Ellerbee, who will play at St. Edward’s next season, had a perfect game for 6 1-3 innings before a Mitch Wurm single.
“I felt at home; we’re playing at Mike Carter Field and I’ve done it plenty of times this year,” Ellerbee said.
The sophomore from Georgetown said he felt at ease and “I just came out and pitched my game; and I knew my defense would be backing me up.”
Pitching coach Hart Hering was elated with Ellerbee’s performance.
“Cody was really efficient with his pitches; and he had all three working,” Hering said. “He was able to throw all the pitches at any time in the count. He kept a pretty good offensive team off-balance.”
The Cyclones ranked seventh in the nation with a team average of .352.
St. Cloud coach Jason Fischer said his team played differently than they had all season.
“Both pitchers were throwing strikes and our guy (Ryan Schneider) got a little tired and left the ball up on a couple of guys and Tyler took advantage,” Fischer said. “Although it was a 7-0, it was a closer game than 7-0. Today was not indicative of how we played all year. I don’t know if it was nerves or what. I don’t want to take anything away from Tyler; they have a great team, but it was not the team we’ve seen all year long.”
TJC head coach Doug Wren said it was important to get that first win on the first day. Two years ago, the Apaches dropped a 4-3 decision to Gloucester (N.J.) in 10 innings on opening day. Although TJC battled back and played in the championship game, it took a toll on the pitching staff.
“It was huge — it’s something obviously we didn’t do two years ago,” Wren said. “It’s important to get off to a good start on the first day.”
Wren noted Ellerbee’s mound presence and that his team did “a good job of putting the early jitters behind us.”
While pitching was in the spotlight, Hunter Sutton had a key momentum changing triple for the Apaches in the fifth, while Nico Moran and Estevan Hernandez had RBI singles in a five-run eighth.
The Cyclones had a double from Kevin Kramer and singles from Daniel Sargent, Patrick Tschida and Wurm.
Both Ellerbee and Schneider (8-1) were keeping the hitters in check until the bottom of the fifth.
TJC shortstop Tyler Ernest led off the inning with a walk and that brought up Sutton, who hit a laser down the right field line for a triple and an RBI.
“It was a tough at-bat,” said Sutton, a freshman from Forney. “I think I saw about eight pitches and then he threw one over the middle. I liked it and got the barrel on it; good things happen when you find the barrel.”
In the eighth, the Apaches put up five runs. Along with the RBI singles from Moran (scoring Trevor Clifton who had reached on a fielder’s choice after a Jeremy Christian single) and Hernandez (plating Connor Lewis who had a bunt single), TJC got bases-loaded RBI walks from Taylor Drolette, Ernest and Christian.
SMOKE SIGNALS: Mike Carter Field, 1900 W. Houston St., is between the Tyler Rose Garden and Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. … Ticket prices are: tournament pass (adults only) $20; single day pass (adult) $5; single day pass (students/children) $3; children 10 & under (free) and any Little League player in uniform (free). … Fans can watch and listen to the games on www.njcaatv.ihigh.com.
No. 3 Tyler Junior College 7, No. 2 St. Cloud (Minn.) Technical & Community College 0
NJCAA Division III World Series
At Mike Carter Field
St. Cloud 000 000 000 — 0 4 0
Tyler 000 020 05x — 7 7 0
Ryan Schneider, Matt Dietman (8), Tyler Zweibohmer (8) and Dakota Freiborg. Cody Ellerbee, Jacob French (9) and Trevor Clifton.
W – Ellerbee (8-2), L – Schneider (8-1).
2B – SC: Kevin Kramer.3B – TJC: Hunter Sutton.
DP – SC 1, TJC 1. LOB – SC 4, TJC 5. SB – TJC: Nico Moran, Jeremy Christian.
Umpires – HP: Eric Thompson, 1B: Ignacio Acevedo, 2B: Tom Dooly.
Time — 2 hours, 4 minutes.
EST. ATT. — 700.
RECORDS — St. Cloud 43-8, Tyler 37-18.
NEXT UP — Game 5: St. Cloud vs. Nassau (N.Y.), 9 a.m. today; Game 7: Tyler vs. Joliet (Ill.), 4 p.m. today.
NJCAA Division III World Series
Presented By Wells Fargo
Advisors Tyler Texas Office
At Mike Carter Field
Saturday, May 19
Game 1: Tyler Junior College 7, St. Cloud (Minn.)?Technical &?Community College 0
Game 2: Joliet (Ill.) Junior College 10, Nassau (N.Y.)?Community College 0, 6 innings
Game 3: Niagara County (N.Y.) Community College 6, Gloucester (N.J.)?Community College 0
Game 4: Northern Essex (Mass.)?Community College 9, Montgomery (Md.)?College-Germantown 1
Sunday, May 20
Game 5: St. Cloud (35-6) vs. Nassau?(23-27), 9 a.m.
Game 6: Gloucester (46-10) vs. Montgomery (30-27), noon
Game 7: Tyler (37-18) vs. Joliet (34-29), 4 p.m.
Game 8: Niagara (36-20) vs. Northern Essex?(28-7), 7 p.m.
Monday, May 21
Game 9: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7, noon
Game 10: Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 8, 4 p.m.
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, May 22
Game 12: Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10, 4 p.m.
Game 13: Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 11, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 23
Game 14: Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 13, 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 24
Game 15: If necessary, 7 p.m.