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April 23, 2014

Grove City rallies come up short against Geneva

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College baseball team made late rallies in both games but ultimately came up short, falling twice to Geneva in Presidents' Athletic Conference action on Wednesday afternoon at R. Jack Behringer Field.

The Wolverines (7-20, 5-13 PAC) lost game one, 6-4, before dropping the nightcap, 8-7.

Geneva (11-21, 7-10 PAC) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an Anthony Monaparte two-out, two-run single. Grove City would cut the Golden Tornado lead in half in the bottom of the second when freshman outfielder Jimmy Palmer (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) drove a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring senior third baseman Matt Corner (Slippery Rock, Pa./Slippery Rock) from third.

The Golden Tornadoes would extend their lead to 5-1 in the top of the third by way of an Andy Santana three-run home run, which would prove to be enough for the win.

Junior left fielder Josh Hodges (Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City) led off the bottom of the third with a triple and then scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by freshman first baseman Matt Waugaman (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny). The Wolverines would add another run in the bottom of the fifth when Waugaman singled and later scored on a two-out double by sophomore designated hitter Travis Royer (Elverson, Pa./Twin Valley) to make it a 5-3 game.

After Geneva added an insurance run in the top of the sixth by taking advantage of a Grove City error, the Wolverines made one final effort in the bottom of the seventh.

Pinch hitter Brandon Gresh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) led the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a single by freshman shortstop David Laylock (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine-Richland) to give the Wolverines a pair of baserunners with nobody out. Gresh advanced to third while Laylock was thrown out at second as part of a double play, but Waugaman was able to extend the inning with a two-out single that scored Gresh to cut the deficit to 6-4.

Grove City would have a chance in its ensuing at bat, but Waugaman was just outtouched at second as Royer batted into a fielder's choice to end the game.

Sophomore Ryan Gallagher (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) took the loss on the mound, allowing nine hits and five runs over four innings. Freshman Ryan Braundmeier (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) allowed two hits and one unearned run in two innings of relief while junior Chris Curran (Lyndhurst, Ohio/Brush) allowed two hits in a scoreless seventh.

Waugaman led Grove City's offensive attack with a pair of hits and two RBI.

In game two, it was the Wolverines who jumped out to a 2-0 lead, taking advantage of a Geneva error in the bottom of the third. Freshman Kyle Witzberger (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) started the offense with a one-out single and then stole second before coming home to score when Laylock reached on a throwing error. Laylock would also steal second, setting up a Royer RBI-single that made it a 2-0 Grove City advantage.

Geneva would respond, taking the lead with four runs in the top of the fourth, but Grove City answered right back with two in the bottom of the fourth to even the score at 4-4.

Freshman right fielder Nolan Myers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) singled to lead off the inning and then scored all the way from first on a throwing error that allowed senior second baseman John Rende (West Homestead, Pa./Central Catholic) to reach and advance to third. Rende would then tie the game on an RBI-groundout by freshman catcher Nick Fryer (Medina, Ohio/Medina).

The Golden Tornadoes would retake the lead with a run in the top of the fifth and extend that lead to 8-4 with three in the top of the sixth.

Grove City wouldn't go down without a fight. Myers started the Wolverine sixth with a one-out infield single and advanced to third on a Rende double. A Fryer single would score Myers and give Grove City runners on the corners, and Witzberger followed with a sacrifice fly to center that was just deep enough for Rende to tag from third and score. Laylock followed with a two-out double that scored Fryer to cut the Geneva lead to 8-7 before a strikeout ended the inning.

The Wolverines would make one last effort in the bottom of the seventh as Corner reached on a two-out single, but once again Geneva was able to record a strikeout and end the threat to preserve the win.

Freshman Ben Finlan (State College, Pa./State College) fell in game two, allowing 12 hits and eight runs (seven earned) over six innings of work. Junior Kenny Saltsman (Salem, Ohio/Salem) allowed just a walk in a scoreless seventh inning.

Myers went 3-for-4 to lead the Wolverine offense in the second game while Fryer had a pair of RBI.

Grove City will host Waynesburg on Friday in a nine-inning game at 3 p.m. at R. Jack Behringer Field.

Game One Box   Game Two Box

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