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March 14, 2016

Bats come alive in split at La Roche

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- The Grove City College baseball team's offense exploded for 23 hits, including 15 in a Game Two victory, as the Wolverines battled La Roche to a doubleheader split in non-conference action on Monday afternoon at the La Roche Baseball Field. The Wolverines dropped the opener 12-6 before rebounding with a 13-6 victory in the nightcap.

Junior first baseman Matt Waugaman (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) led the way for Grove City (4-3) with five hits on the day while junior catcher Andy Fritz (Saxonburg, Pa./Knoch) added four hits.

In the first game, La Roche (8-4) scored four runs in the bottom of the first and would never trail. Grove City got a run back in the top of the second when sophomore shortstop Drew Landis (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) led the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore second baseman Cameron Smail (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area) to cut the lead to 4-1. The Redhawks, however, would add two runs in both the second and third innings and three more in the fourth to hold a commanding 11-1 lead through four innings.

Grove City would attempt a comeback with a four-run top of the fifth. Sophomore center fielder Tyler Graham (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area) drew a walk to start the inning and freshman left fielder Shane Hammel (Fort Collins, Colo./Fossil Ridge) followed by grounding into a fielder's choice, but Graham was safe at second by way of a La Roche error. Junior right fielder Nolan Myers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) brought Graham home on a single to left field, cutting the deficit to 11-2, and, after a flyout, Fritz would drill a homer to straight-away center -- the first of his collegiate career -- to make it an 11-5 game.

Landis then doubled to left in an attempt to keep the rally going, but consecutive groundouts ended the threat. La Roche would add another run in the bottom of the sixth before Waugaman notched his first home run of the season in the top of the seventh to close the scoring.

Junior Cameron Lawson (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) took the loss on the mound for Grove City, allowing eight runs (six earned) on eight hits over three innings. Myers, in his first collegiate appearance on the mound, threw two innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on one hit while walking four. Junior Brad Warmhold (Downingtown, Pa./Delaware Co. Christian) pitched the sixth inning, allowing one run on one hit.

In the nightcap, La Roche took an early 1-0 lead by leading off the bottom of the second with consecutive doubles, but Grove City answered with three runs in the top of the third to take their first lead of the day.

Freshman left fielder Travis Auth (Medina, Ohio/Medina) opened the third with a single and moved to second when Graham drew a walk. A sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Brandon Gresh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) advanced both runners, allowing them both to score on a Myers single. Myers would be out at second as Landis reached on a fielder's choice, and Landis then scored on a Waugaman triple to give the Wolverines a 3-1 advantage.

La Roche closed the gap to 3-2 with a run in the bottom of the third, but Grove City broke the game open with an eight-run top of the fourth. Freshman third baseman Micah Burke (Gilbert, Ariz./EVAC) led off the inning with a single, and, after an out, Auth was hit by a pitch and Graham laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Gresh would earn an RBI by being hit by a pitch, scoring Burke, and a Myers walk brought Graham home to make it a 5-2 game.

Landis reached on a dropped fly ball to right field, allowing Gresh to score and keeping the bases loaded, and Waugaman doubled to bring all three runs across home plate. He then stole third base, allowing him to score easily on a Fritz single. Following a Burke flyout, senior designated hitter Travis Royer (Forest, Va./Twin Valley) brought Fritz home with a double to give Grove City an 11-2 lead through three and a half.

The Redhawks scored once in the bottom of the fourth and added two more runs in the fifth to close within 11-5, but Grove City tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth to seal the win.

Fritz hit a one-out double to right field to get things going, and, following a pitching chance, Burke singled to center to give Grove City runners on the corners. A Royer single to center scored Fritz and moved Burke to second, and Auth followed with a single to score Burke, pushing the Wolverine lead to 13-5.

The Redhawks led off the seventh with a solo home run, but senior pitcher Kenny Saltsman (Salem, Ohio/Salem) was able to retire the side to complete the victory.

Senior Ryan Gallagher (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) earned the win on the mound for Grove City, allowing five runs on eight hits over five innings of action. Saltsman allowed just the solo homer over the final two innings in relief.

Grove City returns to action tomorrow, hosting Penn State Beaver in a single nine-inning game for their 2016 home opener at 3 p.m.

Game One Box Score       Game Two Box Score

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