May 16, 2011
Grove City earns ECAC berth
GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College baseball team has received an invitation to compete in the 2011 Eastern College Athletic Conference Southern Championship Tournament. The Wolverines (22-16) are the fourth seed in the six-team tournament and will face fifth-seeded Medaille (22-15) Saturday at 1 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
Neumann University (28-12) is the top seed in the tournament and will host the two-day event. Both Neumann and No. 2 seed Penn State Behrend (27-12) received byes into the semifinals. La Roche (26-14) is the third seed and Penn State-Abingdon (20-20) captured the sixth seed. Those teams will meet Saturday at 10 a.m.
The semifinals will be played Sunday, followed by the championship game late Sunday afternoon. Neumann will play either Grove City or Medaille at 9 a.m. Saturday. Behrend meets either La Roche or Penn State-Abingdon at noon Sunday in the other semifinal.
Grove City is making its second straight appearance in the ECAC Southern Championship Tournament. Grove City fell at La Roche in the 2010 quarterfinals.
It is Grove City's third postseason berth in the last four years. In 2008, the Wolverines won the Presidents' Athletic Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Championship Tournament for the first time in program history.
This year, Grove City won the conference's regular season title with a 15-6 league record. The Wolverines hosted the conference tournament at Cene Park in Struthers, Ohio, and finished third.
Grove City has featured a balanced offensive attack this season as five regulars hit .344 or better this season. Senior center fielder Dan Quirk (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Schuylerville) leads the team with a .384 batting average and is second on the squad with a .505 slugging percentage. Sophomore right fielder Josh Sacks (Columbia, Md./Chapelgate Christian) hit .380 and led the team with 34 runs scored and 52 total hits.
Senior left fielder Butch Kriger (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) hit .426 in conference play this year and leads the team with 13 doubles and 16 extra-base hits. Kriger hit .314 overall after overcoming a slow start.
In the infield, senior shortstop Scott Moran (Columbia, Md./Chapelgate Christian) owns a team-best .523 slugging percentage, along with a team-high 33 runs batted in. He hit .369 for the season and shares the team lead with three home runs. Moran is Grove City's all-time leader in runs scored with 147.
Freshman third baseman Tom Hawley (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) took over early in the season as the starter and hit .298 in 33 starts. Across the diamond, sophomore Kyle Shock (Loudonville, Ohio/Hillsdale) and freshman Ryan Parker (Houston, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) have split duties at first baseman. Shock is hitting .315 in 23 starts and Parker owns a .280 average in 15 starts this year.
Senior second baseman Andrew Patterson (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian) hit .348 in 26 games before being sidelined by injury. Junior Brandon Durbin (Zelienople, Pa./Seneca Valley) has taken over at second and owns a .276 average in 16 starts.
Behind the plate, two-time All-Region selection Marcus Magister (Allison Park, Pa./Hampton) became Grove City's all-time leader in home runs (26) and runs batted in (128) during the season. He shares the team lead with three home runs this year and is hitting .344. Magister may also see time at designated hitter when sophomore Doug Wells (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's) catches. Wells hit .299 this year with two homers in 20 starts. Wells also threw out 36 percent (9 of 25) of the runners who tried to steal this season.
Senior DH Kyle Wolff (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) hit .433 in 23 appearances (18 starts) this year while posting a .517 slugging percentage and a .470 on-base percentage.
Grove City's pitching staff features experience, depth and versatility. Seniors Cory Metcalf (Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) and Kyle Silk (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian) have anchored the starting rotation this season. Metcalf went 9-0 this year and led the conference in wins this season. He led Grove City with 11 starts and 68 innings pitched while posting a 4.78 earned run average. The nine wins tie Grove City's single-season win record.
Silk went 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA in conference play this season. Overall, he is 5-3 with a 4.32 ERA and one save in 12 appearances. Silk leads Grove City with three complete games and 49 strikeouts. He has just seven walks in 58 1/3 innings this year.
Sophomore Zach Butler (Massillon, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian) went 4-3 in a team-high 15 appearances this year. He shares the team lead with three saves and allowed just 41 hits in 41 2/3 innings this year. In addition to Butler and Silk, four other Grove City relievers have earned multiple saves this year as the Wolverines established a new program record with 13 saves.
Senior Steve Stombaugh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) also has three saves in 12 appearances this year while sophomore Max Vickerman (Zelienople, Pa./Seneca Valley) has two saves in 15 games this year. Seniors Chip Hasek (Valencia, Pa./Mars) and J.T. Seelman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) also have two saves each.
Grove City's 22 wins this year are the third-most in program history, trailing only the 2006 (26-13) and 1999 (24-13) teams.
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