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March 25, 2008

Wolverines go 3-3 in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Grove City College baseball team opened the 2008 season during Easter Break by splitting six games in Orlando, Fla. March 15-19.

Grove City opened the trip by splitting a doubleheader with NAIA Trinity Christian (Ill.) March 15. The Wolverines dropped a 4-1 decision in the opener but rebounded for a 16-4 victory in the nightcap.

Grove City improved to 3-1 Monday, March 17 with a sweep of Bates College. The Wolverines earned an 8-2 win in the opener and then rallied for a 5-4 win in the second game.

The following day, Edgewood (Wis.) handed Grove City a pair of setbacks, 4-0 and 8-4. After a scheduled off day on the 19th, the Wolverines planned to play Albright on Thursday, March 20. However, inclement weather forced the doubleheader to be canceled.

In Grove City's season opener against Trinity Christian, senior catcher Ray Mertz (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) went 3 for 4 with a double while senior center fielder Brian Moran (Columbia, Md./Chapelgate Christian) doubled, singled and stole a pair of bases. Senior right-hander Chris Bowser (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) fired a complete game for Grove City but took the setback. Bowser fanned five and allowed three earned runs in six innings.

Grove City posted five multi-run innings in Game Two against Trinity Christian. Moran tripled twice, drove in four runs, scored three runs and also added a single in four at-bats. Junior shortstop Ben Wilson (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) doubled and drove in three runs as part of his 3-for-4 outing. Mertz singled twice and drove in three runs while sophomore first baseman Tyler Thompson (Lee, Maine/Lee Academy) doubled.

Freshman pitcher Cory Metcalf (Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) earned his first collegiate win after allowing two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He allowed five hits and struck out a pair.

Grove City broke out early against Bates in Game One by posting a six-run second inning. Junior first baseman Brad Stombaugh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) collected three hits while Wilson added two singles. Moran doubled and swiped two bases.

In the nightcap against Bates, the Wolverines carried a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning before Bates rallied with four runs. However, Grove City countered in the bottom of the inning to reclaim the lead. Wilson doubled home freshman right fielder Butch Kriger (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) to tie the game. Two batters later, junior Seth Thompson (Canton, Ohio/GlenOak) scored the eventual game-winner on an error.

Freshman reliever Steve Stombaugh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) recorded the final out of the sixth to earn the win. Senior Jon Coyne (Solon, Ohio/Solon) pitched a hitless seventh to earn the save.

Junior Zach Hillegas (Bridgeport, W. Va./Bridgeport) struck out six and allowed just three hits in 5 1/3 innings. However, Hillegas received a no-decision after leaving with a 3-0 lead.

Edgewood pitchers Cody Flynn and Bill Dictus limited Grove City to just six hits in Wednesday's opener. Wilson cracked a double to account for the Wolverines' lone extra-base hit.

Freshman Chip Hasek (Valencia, Pa./Mars) allowed just two hits in 4 1/3 innings but took the defeat for Grove City. Hasek walked four and struck out one in his college debut. Steve Stombaugh pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and junior Matt Tindall (Copley, Ohio/Copley) tossed a perfect seventh inning.

Grove City grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the second game against Edgewood. However, Edgewood stormed back to take a 5-2 lead in the second. Grove City eventually closed to within 6-3 in the fifth on a run-scoring single from senior second baseman Bryan Pierrot (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth). Pierrot went 3 for 4, including a run scored. Freshman Dan Quirk (Albany, N.Y./Schuylerville) doubled and scored a pair of runs.

Freshman Andy Klimek (Oakdale, Pa./South Fayette) started and allowed five runs in two innings. Freshman reliever J.T. Seelman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) allowed one unearned run in three innings of work.

Wilson hit .474 during the trip while Mertz hit .444. Pierrot went 8 for 19 (.421) while Moran collected four extra-base hits. Moran slugged .684 on the trip and went 7-for-7 stealing bases.

Grove City's Presidents' Athletic Conference opener at Thiel has been postponed from its original Tuesday start time.

Trinity Christian Box Score (Game One)            Trinity Christian Box Score (Game Two)

Bates Box Score (Game One)                           Bates Box Score (Game Two)

Edgewood Box Score (Game One)                    Edgewood Box Score (Game Two)

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