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April 15, 2016

Wolverines hold off Waynesburg, 12-10

WAYNESBURG, Pa. -- Junior catcher Andy Fritz (Saxonburg, Pa./Knoch) drove in two of Grove City's four runs in the top of the eighth as part of a three-hit, four RBI day, and classmate Cameron Lawson (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) closed the door in relief as the Grove City College baseball team held off Waynesburg for a 12-10 victory in Presidents' Athletic Conference road action on a sunny Friday afternoon at the Waynesburg Baseball Field.

Fritz went 3 of 6 with a double and a home run to lead the Wolverines (18-7, 10-2 PAC) while sophomore center fielder Tyler Graham (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area) was 3 of 5 with two RBIs. Junior right fielder/pitcher Nolan Myers (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) also had a three-hit day and came on in relief for Grove City to earn his first collegiate victory on the mound.

Grove City jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as junior shortstop David Laylock (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine Richland) opened the game with a single up the middle and beat out a throw to third on a Myers single up the middle, allowing Myers to advance to second. Junior Matt Waugaman (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) followed with an RBI-sacrifice fly to center field that scored Laylock and moved Myers to third. Waynesburg (8-16, 6-4 PAC), however, was able to get the final two outs and end the Wolverine threat.

The Jackets would answer with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, using three straight singles to start the inning and a sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead through one. Grove City threatened in the top of the second, but Waynesburg turned a double-play to escape a jam and then increased their lead to 4-1 in the bottom half on a Matt Bensinger two-run single through the right side to chase Grove City senior starting pitcher Ryan Gallagher (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) from the game.

The Wolverines would respond with a six-run top of the third to reclaim the lead. Laylock and Myers drew consecutive walks to lead off the frame, and a Fritz single to center scored Laylock to close the deficit to 4-2. Freshman third baseman Micah Burke (Gilbert, Ariz./E.V.A.C.) drew a walk to load the bases, and senior designated hitter Travis Royer (Forest, Va./Twin Valley, Pa.) brought the Wolverines within one with an RBI-hit by pitch. Freshman left fielder Shane Hammel (Fort Collins, Colo./Fossil Ridge) reached on an error, scoring Fritz to even the score at 4-4, and sophomore second baseman Drew Landis (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) reached on a fielder's choice that would leave everyone safe via another Yellow Jacket error to make in a 5-4 game. Graham would then smack a two-run single to center to push Grove City's lead to 7-4.

Fritz added to Grove City's lead in the top of the fourth with a leadoff solo home run to left -- his second homer of the season -- to give Grove City an 8-4 lead, but Waynesburg would also hit a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the inning and add another run later to close the gap to 8-6.

That score would hold into bottom of the sixth when a Bensinger two-run home run evened the score at 8-8, but after a scoreless seventh, Grove City would go back on top for good with a four-run top of the eighth.

Graham led the inning with a single and then stole his PAC-leading 14th base of the season to get in scoring position. Laylock would reach on a walk, and a Myers bunt single would then load the bases with no one out. Waugaman then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, but the Waynesburg right fielder dropped the ball, allowing Waugaman to reach and both Graham and Laylock to score to put the Wolverines on top 10-8. Fritz then followed with a double that hit the bottom of the fence in left center, scoring both Myers and Waugaman to push Grove City's advantage to 12-8.

Waynesburg got a pair of runs back on a Tyler Godwin two-run double in the bottom of the eighth to close within 12-10, but Lawson, entering the game with runners on second and third and just one out, got a timely strikeout for out number two and then a groundball fielder's choice to escape the inning. After the Wolverines left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Lawson would retire the Yellow Jacket side in order in the bottom of the ninth, striking out pinch hitter Justin Davey looking to close the game.

Myers earned the win for Grove City despite allowing two runs on one hit and walking a pair in one and one-third innings. Gallagher started but went just one and one third innings while junior Cedric Hils (West Homestead, Pa./Central Catholic) scattered four runs on six hits through four and a third while striking out two and walking two.

Burke allowed one hit and hit a batter while getting the first out of the eighth while Lawson came on for the save, allowing just a single walk and striking out a pair over one and two-thirds innings of scoreless, hitless work.

With the Wolverines low on relief pitchers, Lawson was forced into the batting order in the top of the ninth and drew a leadoff walk, becoming the first Grove City player to draw a walk at the plate and earn a save in the same game since Jake Cuthbert on April 10, 2003 against Westminster. In addition, Myers became the first Wolverines to record three hits and get the win on the mound since April 5, 2003 against Washington and Jefferson.

Grove City will complete the series with Waynesburg tomorrow, hosting the Yellow Jackets in a doubleheader on R. Jack Behringer Field at 1 p.m.

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