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April 1, 2016

Hammel's hammer leads Grove City past Westminster

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- Freshman left fielder Shane Hammel (Fort Collins, Colo./Fossil Ridge) went 3 for 5 with four RBIs and notched his first collegiate home run to power the Grove City College baseball team to a 7-2 Presidents' Athletic Conference road victory over Westminster on Friday afternoon.

Senior designated hitter Travis Royer (Forest, Va./Twin Valley (Pa.)) also homered as part of a 2 for 3 day while junior third baseman Brandon Gresh (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) added three hits.

Grove City (13-5, 5-1 PAC) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Royer drilled a two-out solo home run to left center for his first homer of the year. The Wolverines added on in the top of the third when Hammel hit a bases-loaded double to left center to score both junior right fielder Nolan Myers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) and junior shortstop David Laylock (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine Richland) and make it a 3-0 game, and a Westminster (2-14, 0-4) error later in the frame allowed junior catcher Andy Fritz (Saxonburg, Pa./Knoch) to cross home plate and push the Wolverine advantage to 4-0.

In the top of the fifth, Hammel would follow a Fritz leadoff single with a home run that just cleared the left field fence to give Grove City a 6-0 lead. Westminster would get a run back in the bottom of the fifth, but Grove City would score again in the top of the seventh as Royer started the inning with a single and later came home on a Myers RBI-fielder's choice for a 7-1 Grove City lead.

Westminster used three hits in the bottom of the eighth to score a run and close the gap to 7-2 and threatened in the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back singles to start the inning, but senior Kenny Saltsman (Salem, Ohio/Salem) got a groundout that advanced both Titan runners for the first out of the inning. During the ensuing at-bat, Saltsman got Westminster's Ty Ferlin to fly out to right field. On the play, the Titans' Kellen Gursky tagged up from third in an attempt to score, but Myers threw a bullet from the outfield to Fritz, who tagged out Gursky to end the game.

Sophomore Drew Landis (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) threw eight strong innings -- the longest outing of his collegiate career -- for the Wolverines, scattering seven hits and two earned runs over that time while striking out four and walking just one. Saltsman allowed just the two hits in a scoreless ninth.

Grove City's 13-5 start remains its best since the 2006 season.

The Wolverines host Westminster tomorrow at 1 p.m. in a pair of seven-inning conference games.

Box Score

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