The Army Black Knights are heading to the NCAA Tournament for the tenth time in school history and the fourth consecutive season! It took three games, but they took the deciding game on Thursday, 12-2 over Bucknell, continuing their reign over the Patriot League.
Out west, there’s a chance for another academy to clinch a spot into the NCAA Tournament. For the first time since 2016, Air Force has qualified for the Mountain West tournament.
Will two academies make the big dance for the first time ever? Stay tuned and read along for a chance at history.
Air Force 25, New Mexico 6
New Mexico 13, Air Force 12
Air Force 10, New Mexico 0
Army 8, Bucknell 7
Bucknell 13, Army 3
Army 12, Bucknell 2
San Jose State vs Nevada – 4:30 p.m. (Mountain West Network)
Air Force vs UNLV – 9 p.m. (Mountain West Network)
Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 2 – 4:30 p.m. (Mountain West Network)
Winner Game 1 vs Winner Game 2 – 9 p.m. (Mountain West Network)
Winner Game 3 vs Loser Game 4 – 4:30 p.m. (Mountain West Network)
Winner Game 4 vs Winner Game 5 – 9 p.m. (Mountain West Network)
Winner Game 6 vs Loser Game 6 (If Necessary) – 4 p.m. (Mountain West Network)
Army’s baseball dynasty rolls along! With their 2-1 series win over Bucknell, the Black Knights have clinched their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Black Knights won the series clincher by 10 runs on Thursday, but it wasn’t always that easy.
On Tuesday, they trailed throughout, heading into the ninth inning with a two-run deficit. An error by the Bucknell first baseman opened both the inning and floodgates as Sam Ruta, Nick Manesis and Ross Friedrick hit consecutive singles to tie the game at seven.
Following them, Cam Cerruto hit a sac fly out to left field, giving Army the game one victory.
Game two was a struggle, falling to Bucknell by a score of 13-3. Brian Dawson gave up five earned runs in two and two-thirds innings pitched, handing the Black Knights a 6-1 deficit by the end of the third inning. It would get worse from there.
Then Thursday… that’s where the magic happened. Army hit around the order in the first inning, taking the early 6-0 lead. They would add to their lead more and more throughout the game, ending it with a total of 21 hits.
Army will learn their fate on Monday at noon. The selection show will be televised on ESPN2.
Air Force is heading to the Mountain West tournament for the first time since 2016! It was not an easy road, but they learned an important lesson over the weekend… to not be complacent.
After dominating New Mexico on Thursday by a score of 25-6, it looked like they were going to clinch their spot with ease, going into the ninth inning of Friday’s game with a 12-6 lead. That was when their bullpen would give up seven runs, allowing a Kyle Smith walk-off two-run single to close the afternoon.
It all came down to the season finale thereafter. Either the Falcons had to win, or Fresno State had to lose.
They put no doubt into the result, dominating the Lobos by a score of 10-0. Freshman Dylan Rogers would pitch an eight-inning gem, securing a bid in this week’s conference tournament.
“After such a disappointing and heartbreaking loss last night and with our backs against the wall, we needed a strong pitching performance,” said head coach Mike Kazlausky postgame, “And we sure did get one with Dylan Rogers.”
More good news came to the Falcons program as Sam Kulasingam was named the Mountain West Player of the Year and Paul Skenes the league’s co-pitcher of the year. Kulasingam is the first league player of the year in Falcon history, and Skenes pitched to a 7-1 record on the mound in Mountain West play.
Jay Thomason followed them on the first team and Gabriel Garcia was named to the league’s second team.
The Falcons will open conference tournament play with a game against UNLV on Thursday night. Air Force swept them in Colorado but dropped all three in Las Vegas. The Falcons took two of three from San Jose State and two of six against Nevada.