Carlos D’Armas did everything he could to keep the Central Missouri baseball team alive in the Division II College World Series on Wednesday. Unfortunately for the Mules, Cal Poly Pomona’s Peter Bayer did just a little more.
D’Armas, a senior right-hander, gave up just one run on five hits through eight innings of work at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
That wasn’t enough to prevent a season-ending 3-0 loss to the Broncos, thanks to a performance that saw Bayer strike out 14 while taking a no-hitter into the eighth.
The loss put a disappointing end to a week in which USM dropped two of three games at the double-elimination national championship tournament.
“I feel like we had chances in that game,” Mules coach Kyle Crookes said. “We had an opportunity to win that game because of the effort of Carlos on the mound and the defense.
“Obviously, you have to tip your hat to Bayer on the other side. We had a lot of trouble squaring him up and getting on time.”
Bayer, a senior right-hander who transferred to Cal Poly after three pedestrian seasons at Division I Richmond, came into the game with a 1-2 record and 4.99 earned-run average. But on this day, he was close to unhittable.
The only baserunners the Mules (43-15) were able to muster through the first seven innings were a walk to Matt Elliott to lead off the game, a walk to Jackson Schnurbusch to lead off the third and a disputed hit-by-pitch to Blake Wilfong as he was attempting to bunt Schnurbusch into scoring position.
That rally was quickly snuffed when Bayer struck out Elliott and Dylan Farrell, then retired Jake Alexander on a soft grounder to second.
CMU’s only other threat came in the eighth after Wilfong doubled with two out for his team’s only hit. But after a walk to Elliott, Bayer battled back to get pinch-hitter Collin Nevil on a fly to center.
“Almost throughout the whole game, even though we didn’t have a hit, our dugout was still upbeat,” Wilfong said. “We always thought we had a shot.”
They did because of D’Armas and some spectacular outfield defense.
Coming off a three-hit shutout victory against Minnesota State in the Central Regional, D’Armas allowed a first-inning run on an infield single, a bunt and a two-out double by Broncos’ cleanup hitter Jason Padlo, then matched Bayer out-for-out the rest of the way.
He got some help from center fielder Elliott in the fifth, with a diving catch that robbed Cal Poly’s Jared James of extra bases, and from right fielder Farrell, who saved a run two innings later with a juggling catch of another James drive as he crashed into the wall.
The Broncos (42-18) finally broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth by scoring two runs off three CMU relief pitchers.