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April 6, 2014

Grove City earns split at Thomas More

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. -- The Grove City College baseball team used a pair of strong pitching performances to earn a doubleheader split at Presidents’ Athletic Conference foe Thomas More on Sunday afternoon at Thomas More Field.

After their seventh-inning rally came up just short in a 3-2 Game One loss, the Wolverines (5-13, 3-6 PAC) rebounded to hold on for a 4-3 victory in Game Two.

Thomas More (11-9, 7-2 PAC) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning of the first game when a Cody Makin single to center field allowed Jason Handley to score from second. The Saints then added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-0 lead by stringing together four hits and taking advantage of a Wolverine throwing error.

After managing just two hits through the first six innings, Grove City’s offense came alive in the top of the seventh. Senior Matt Corner (Slippery Rock, Pa./Slippery Rock) reached on a fielding error to start the inning, and freshman Nolan Myers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) moved him to second with a single to center field.

A groundout moved the runners to second and third and, following a strikeout, freshman Jimmy Palmer (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) made it a 3-1 game with a single to second base that scored corner and moved Myers to third.

Freshman David Laylock (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine Richland) followed with a single up the middle to score Myers, cutting the deficit to 3-2, but Thomas More was able to get the third out of the inning on a strikeout to end the game.

Sophomore Ryan Gallagher (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) took the tough-luck loss on the mound despite allowing just four hits and one run over five innings.

In game two, the Saints once again struck first, as Handley doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk to give Thomas More a 1-0 lead.

Grove City answered right back in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs of their own to take a 3-1 lead.  Senior John Rende (West Homestead, Pa./Central Catholic) drew a walk to lead off the inning and moved to second on a single by sophomore Kenny McCracken (Wheaton, Ill./Aurora Christian). Palmer would lay down a well-executed bunt-single to load the bases, and a balk would advance all three runners, scoring Rende to tie the game at 1-1.

Laylock would follow with a single up the middle to score both runners before the Saints finally recorded three outs to end the inning.

The Wolverines added what would prove to be a well-needed insurance run in the top of the sixth, as freshman Matt Waugaman (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) led the inning with a double and later came home to score on a Rende two-out single to center.

Thomas More made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, scoring a pair of two-out runs by combining two hits with two Wolverine errors, but freshman pitcher Ben Finlan (State College, Pa./State College) was able to get a groundout to end the game and preserve the 4-3 victory for the first win of his collegiate career.

Finlan pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits and three runs (one earned) while striking out a pair of batters.

McCracken led the Wolverine offense with a pair of hits.

Grove City is scheduled to host Thiel on Tuesday at 3 p.m. for a single nine-inning PAC game. 

Game One Box     Game Two Box

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