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March 10, 2014

Grove City opens season in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The Grove City College baseball team opened the 2014 season March 1-8 by posting a 2-5 record in seven games at The Ripken Experience facility in Myrtle Beach.

Backed by a strong overall effort from the pitching staff, the Wolverines were competitive in all seven games, with five of the seven decided by just one run.

Freshman David Laylock (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine-Richland) led the Wolverines offensively with a .467 batting average and a .667 slugging percentage while splitting time between shortstop and center field. Fellow rookie Jimmy Palmer (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) led the team with eight hits and recorded a .364 batting average while seeing action in all three outfield positions.

The Wolverines opened their schedule by splitting with the College of Staten Island on Saturday, March 1, winning game one, 4-3, in nine innings before dropping the nightcap, 6-5.

In the game one win, senior third baseman Matt Corner (Slippery Rock, Pa./Slippery Rock) came up with a big two-run double in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score at 3-3 and send the game into extra innings. Freshman shortstop Josh Hodges then recorded one of his two RBI in the bottom of the ninth to give the Wolverines the season-opening victory.

Corner, Hodges, senior second baseman John Rende (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) and sophomore outfielder Kenny McCracken (Wheaton, Ill./Aurora Christian) each had two hits in the win.

Sophomore right-hander Ryan Gallagher (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) earned the first win of his collegiate career in relief, allowing just one hit over the final three innings. Senior right-hander Erick Locker (Canton, Ohio/Lake Center Christian) started and allowed three runs on two hits while striking out three in five innings while freshman Anthony Marnejon (Columbiana, Ohio/Crestview) threw a perfect sixth inning.

Palmer and Laylock each recorded two hits and two RBI in the game two setback against the Dolphins.

Grove City dropped a pair to Wilkes on Monday, losing the first game, 2-1, in nine innings before falling 5-0 in the second game.

The Wolverines managed just three hits in the game one loss. Gallagher took the hard-luck loss for the Wolverines, allowing one run on four hits in two and two-thirds innings of relief. Freshman Doug Donatelli (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area) earned the start, allowing just three hits and striking out four in four scoreless innings.

In game two, a pair of Grove City errors led to three unearned runs for Wilkes. Freshman Ben Finlan (State College, Pa./State College) started and allowed just five hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out four in five innings of work.

After the Grove City's scheduled doubleheader with King's was rained out on Thursday, the Wolverines and Monarchs were able to make up one nine-inning game on Friday with Grove City rolling to a 9-2 victory.

Locker tossed seven shutout innings on the mound in his second start of the trip, allowing just four hits and striking out a pair to earn the win. Freshman outfielder Nolan Myers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) led the Wolverine offense with two hits and three RBI while Corner, Hodges and freshman first baseman Matt Waugaman (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) each added a pair of hits.

Grove City closed the trip with a pair of one-run losses to SUNY-New Paltz on Saturday, March 8. The Wolverines fell 3-2 in the first game before dropping the second, 2-1.

Junior lefty Mason Stephens (Uniontown, Ohio/Lake) took the loss on the mound in game one, allowing six hits and three runs (one earned) while striking out four over six innings. Freshman Andrew Taylor (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief.

Laylock recorded a pair of hits, including a double, to lead the Wolverines offensively.

Palmer went 3-for-4 with a double to lead Grove City in game two while Finlan allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits and struck out four over six innings.

Laylock, Palmer, Waugaman, Myers and freshmen Nick Fryer (Medina, Ohio/Medina), Kyle Witzberger (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) and Cameron Lawson (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) each recorded their first collegiate hit during the trip.

Grove City returns to action on Saturday, traveling to La Roche for a 1 p.m. non-conference doubleheader.

College of Staten Island Box Score (Game One)                College of Staten Island Box Score (Game Two)

Wilkes Box Score (Game One)                                         Wilkes Box Score (Game Two)

King's Box Score

New Paltz Box Score (Game One)                                    New Paltz Box Score (Game Two)

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