Wolverines cruise to first ever PAC baseball title
BETHANY, WV, April 28, 2001--The wait is over.
In its 17th year as a member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference, the Grove City College baseball team captured its first league title Saturday, defeating two-time defending champion and tournament host Bethany, 7-4. The second-seeded Wolverines went 3-0 in the double-elimination tournament, beating top-seeded Bethany twice and third-seeded Waynesburg once. A fourth-place finisher at last year's tournament, Grove City extended its winning streak to eight games and improved to 17-8 in the process.
The team's school-record 25th home run of the season was the difference as senior SS Mike Kashurba (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) cracked a three-run shot in the second inning, putting the Wolverines ahead for good, 3-1. Kashurba's blast plated senior C Jeff Conaway (Freeport, PA/Freeport), who singled, and senior CF Adam Booth (Hartville, OH/Lake), who walked.
The Wolverines extended their lead to 5-1 with two runs in the fourth. Senior RF Nate Kauffman (Canonsburg, PA/Canon-McMillan) led off with a single, then was forced to leave the game with a dislocated finger after sliding back to first base on a pick-off attempt. Sophomore Steve Navarro (Gilbertsville, PA/The Hill School) and freshman Jake Cuthbert (Belle Vernon, PA/Belle Vernon) followed with walks to load the bases. Then freshman Greg Grupp, who replaced Kauffman, scored on a double play, and Conaway singled home Navarro.
Bethany rallied with three runs in the fourth to cut the lead to 5-4 before Grove City (designated the home team) added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the frame. Kashurba, who went 2-for-4, scored on a one-out double off the bat of senior 3B J.G. Louden (Morgantown, WV/University) and Grupp singled home Louden.
Kauffman and Grupp each went 2-for-2 out of the clean-up spot, accounting for four of the Wolverines' 10 hits in the game.
Senior southpaw Mike Suchan (Independence, OH/Independence) recorded the victory with 4-1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Suchan surrendered just three hits, struck out three and walked none. Freshman right-handed closer Matt Kearney (New Castle, PA/Neshannock) picked up the save, retiring the Bison in order in the ninth. Kearney fanned the first two batters and got the final out on a grounder to second. Freshman Sean O'Donnell (Brackenridge, PA/St. Joseph) started and went 3-2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits, while striking out three and walking three.
Box score to be posted Sunday evening.
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