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May 9, 2011

Wolverines clinch top seed, give Skaricich win record

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Grove City College baseball team concluded the 2011 regular season Monday night by sweeping a doubleheader from Presidents' Athletic Conference rival Westminster. Grove City won the opener 10-4 at Westminster and then earned a 10-3 win in Game Two at Neshannock High School.

The wins give Grove City (21-14, 15-6 PAC) the top seed in this week's Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship Tournament. Grove City's doubleheader sweep also moved head coach Rob Skaricich into first place on the program's coaching wins list. Skaricich now has 237 wins in 14 seasons as head coach, surpassing the mark of 236 set by retired coach/athletic director Jack Behringer (1959-88).

In Game One, Grove City broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth by exploding for six runs. Freshman first baseman Ryan Parker (Houston, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) opened the inning with a solo homer that put the Wolverines up 5-4. Later in the inning, senior center fielder Dan Quirk (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Schuylerville) doubled in sophomore catcher Doug Wells (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's).

Senior shortstop Scott Moran (Columbia, Md./Chapelgate Christian) then closed the scoring by belting a one-out grand slam that pushed the lead to 10-4.

Grove City grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second inning as Quirk highlighted the inning with a two-run single. In the third, Wells singled in freshman third baseman Tom Hawley (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) to give Grove City a four-run advantage. Parker and Quirk both finished 2 for 3 while Moran went 2 for 4.

Senior pitcher Cory Metcalf (Ashland, Ohio/Ashland) earned the win after allowing four runs in six innings. Metcalf (8-0) struck out five and allowed six hits. Senior Chip Hasek (Valencia, Pa./Mars) pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief.

Game One began at Grove City Saturday but rain interrupted the game in the bottom of the second with Grove City owning a 1-0 lead. The teams resumed the game at Westminster Monday afternoon before making the short trip to Neshannock for Game Two.

Grove City broke open Game Two early by jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Hawley and senior catcher Marcus Magister (Allison Park, Pa./Hampton) both had run-scoring singles and junior second baseman Brandon Durbin (Zelienople, Pa./Seneca Valley) roped a two-run double later in the inning.

The lead grew to 8-0 in the second inning as Hawley lofted a sacrifice fly and Magister added another run-scoring single. Senior DH Kyle Wolff (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) drove in two more runs with a single. Wolff and sophomore first baseman Kyle Shock (Loudonville, Ohio/Hillsdale) both drove in runs in the third, pushing the lead to 10-0.

Seven Grove City players posted multi-hit efforts in the nightcap. Hawley, Moran, Shock, Wolff and sophomore right fielder Josh Sacks (Columbia, Md./Chapelgate Christian) all went 2 for 3. Magister and Durbin both went 2 for 4. Magister and Moran both scored three times. The Wolverines finished with 16 hits.

Sophomore pitcher Zach Butler (Massillon, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian) pitched four scoreless innings to earn the win. Butler (4-3) struck out four and allowed just one hit. Sophomores Erick Locker (Canton, Ohio/Lake Center Christian) and Max Vickerman (Zelienople, Pa./Seneca Valley) both pitched scoreless innings of relief. Senior Steve Stombaugh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) allowed one earned run in the seventh.

Grove City finished the regular season in a three-way tie atop the conference standings with Thomas More and Washington & Jefferson. Grove City gets the top seed based upon a 4-2 record against the other two tied teams. W&J is the No. 2 seed, having gone 2-1 against Grove City and 1-2 against Thomas More. Thomas More is the third seed. Westminster (23-14, 10-11 PAC) is the fourth seed in the tournament.

The Wolverines will face Westminster Thursday in the tournament semifinals. Grove City is in pursuit of its fourth conference title in the last 10 years.

Game One Box Score                Game Two Box Score

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