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May 10, 2008


CINCINNATI -- In the 2008 Presidents' Athletic Conference Baseball Championship Tournament, the last shall be first.

Just six days after earning the last of four available berths in the PAC Tournament, the Grove City College baseball team captured its third conference title since 2001 by earning a pair of victories over Mercer County rival Thiel Saturday at the University of Cincinnati's Marge Schott Stadium.

Grove City (18-16) overall opened the day with a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Thiel in the winner's bracket final Saturday morning. After Thiel defeated host and top-seed Thomas More in the loser's bracket final, 10-7, the Wolverines then earned a come-from-behind 11-10 victory over Thiel in the championship game.

By winning the conference title, Grove City also receives the PAC's first-ever automatic invitation to the NCAA Championship Tournament. Grove City will find out its destination either Sunday night or Monday morning. It would be the Wolverines' first-ever postseason appearance.

Grove City trailed 9-8 entering the top of the ninth of the championship game but tied the game when a sacrifice fly from junior left fielder Seth Thompson (Canton, Ohio/GlenOak) drove in junior shortstop Ben Wilson (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis). The Wolverines then took the lead for good as senior center fielder Brian Moran (Columbia, Md./Chapelgate Christian) drove in freshman DH Butch Kriger and sophomore first baseman Tyler Thompson (Lee, Maine/Lee Academy) with a two-run single.

Thiel scored an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth and had the winning run at second base. However, sophomore pitcher Mike Herringshaw (Chardon, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) got Thiel's Dan Morrison to fly out to end the game. Herringshaw recorded his first collegiate save. Junior reliever Matt Tindall (Copley, Ohio/Copley) earned the win after throwing 2 2/3 innings of relief.

The Wolverines held an early 4-0 lead but Thiel eventually took a 7-5 lead into the eighth inning. However, Seth Thompson roped a game-tying two-run triple that scored Kriger and senior pinch-runner Jon Coyne (Solon, Ohio/Solon). Moran then drove in Thompson to give Grove City an 8-7 lead.

Moran put Grove City up 2-0 in the first inning with a two-run homer. Moran went 4 for 6 with six RBI in the title game while Kriger also had four hits, including a double. Junior first baseman Brad Stombaugh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) added a triple for Grove City.

Senior pitcher Chris Bowser (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) started and pitched into the sixth for Grove City. He allowed four earned runs and four hits in five innings. Freshman Chip Hasek (Valencia, Pa./Mars) pitched in relief before yielding to Tindall.

Senior catcher Ray Mertz (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) put Grove City in the title game with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth in Saturday's first game against Thiel. Mertz broke a 3-3 tie by lacing a one-out single to left that scored Seth Thompson. Two innings earlier, Mertz tied the game by doubling in freshman Scott Moran (Columbia, Md./Chapelgate Christian).

Mertz doubled twice and also singled in five plate appearances. Seth Thompson and Scott Moran each went 2 for 5 while senior second baseman Bryan Pierrot (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) singled twice.

Freshman pitcher Cory Metcalf (Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) fired a complete game for Grove City to earn the victory. Metcalf struck out six and allowed just seven hits in nine innings. It is Metcalf's first complete game of the season.

Grove City also won PAC titles in 2001 and 2002. The Wolverines also went 3-0 in the PAC Tournament in those two seasons. In 2002, Grove City defeated Thiel twice en route to the conference title.

Thomas More hosted Friday's games on campus but Saturday's games were moved to Cincinnati due to commencement exercises at Thomas More. 

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