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Kearney, defense get Wolverines by Thiel, 3-1
by Greg Knowlden, sports information student assistant

Box Score

GREENVILLE, PA, April 26, 2002 -- The Grove City College baseball team (9-12) got its second sparkling pitching performance in as many days at the PAC tournament on Friday, using a dominant complete game effort from sophomore right-hander Matt Kearney (New Castle, PA/Neshannock) to defeat host Thiel College 3-1 in the winners-bracket game. 

Kearney struck out nine, walked two, and scattered 11 hits.  He got solid, and occasionally spectacular, defense from the middle infield; the third, fourth, fifth, and eighth innings all finished on double plays to keep Thiel scoreless after the first frame.  The Tomcats used a single and a double to plate their only run with one man down in the top of the first.  Grove City struggled to respond, as their first nine batters went down in order.

Senior CF Eric Bell (Grove City, PA/Grove City) was hit by a pitch as he led off the bottom of the fourth.  He stole second, advanced to third on a fielding error, and was brought home on a sacrifice fly from senior 1B Drew Hoagland (Butler, PA/Knoch) to even the score at one all.  The Wolverines scratched out two more runs in the fifth as freshman LF Mike McMillen (Pittsburgh, PA/North Allegheny) started the inning with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and was plated on a double down the right field line by junior SS Jason Onyshko (Valencia, PA/Mars).  He advanced to third on a grounder up the middle and scored on Bell’s infield single behind second base with two outs.  That was all the support Kearney would get, but it would be enough to secure the win, his third of the season.

Onyshko’s keystone partner, sophomore 2B Jake Cuthbert (Belle Vernon, PA/Belle Vernon), saw his hitting streak stopped at nine games.  Cuthbert was the PAC player of the week heading into the tournament, and hit 21-of-37 (.568) over the two week stretch.  Freshman DH Joel Diller (Hartville, OH/Marlington) pushed his own streak to double digits with a double in the sixth.

Grove City finds itself in the drivers’ seat of the PAC tournament following the victory.  They will play a yet-to-be-determined conference foe in the championship game tomorrow at noon, with a second game to follow should they drop the first per rules of the double-elimination format.

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