1998 Wolverine Baseball Review

Jim Donnelly

Ron Jones


The hits kept on coming.

Four Wolverines batted over .400 and two others better than .390 as Grove City shattered the team batting record, posted their first 13-win season since 1992, and claimed their highest standing ever in the Presidents' Athletic Conference.

Led by first-year head coach Rob Skaricich, Grove City finished 13-16 overall with five losses decided by a single run, seven by two or less, and 10 by fewer than three runs. The Wolverines entered the double-elimination PAC Tournament as the fourth seed and won their first three games before being swept by Waynesburg in the championship at GCC.

Six of the league's top nine hitters were Wolverines as Grove City showed a .365 team batting average, becoming the fourth squad in school history to bat over .300. The old record of .308 was set in 1993.

Grove City led the conference in batting (.365), pitching (5.61), and fielding (.936) and had a league-high 10 players win All-PAC honors as voted by the coaches.

Senior first baseman Jim Donnelly (Matamoras, PA/Delaware Valley) led the team in hitting with a .465 average -- second-best in the league -- but had to settle for a spot on the PAC Second Team as Waynesburg first baseman Brian Cutlip captured the league batting title with a .485 clip. In school annals, Donnelly's .465 mark is second only to John Avdellas, who batted .493 in 1988. Donnelly cracked six home runs for the second straight season, giving him 13 for his career. He led the PAC in RBIs per game (1.38), ranked second in slugging (.747), and was the third toughest batter to strike out (1 K per 16.5 AB).

Junior third baseman/pitcher Ron Jones (Butler, PA/Knoch) was one of three Wolverines named to the PAC First Team and the league's only three-time first team honoree. Jones batted .392, sixth on the team and ninth in the PAC, and showed a league-best 3.49 earned run average. He scored a team-high 31 runs, which ranked third in the conference, and collected a school-record nine doubles.

Senior center fielder Mike Erickson (Perryman, MD/Aberdeen) and freshman designated hitter Nate Kauffman (McDonald, PA/Canon-McMillan) also dotted the PAC First Team. Erickson tied for third on the team and fifth in the league with a .402 batting average. He committed just one error in 44 total chances to finish with a team-best .977 fielding percentage. Kauffman hit .429 in his rookie campaign, ranking him second on the team and third in the PAC.

Another rookie, freshman shortstop Mike Kashurba (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) and junior left fielder Eric Kephart (Osceola Mills, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) joined Donnelly on the PAC Second Team. Kashurba batted .402, tying Erickson for third-best on the team. Kephart hit .295 and posted a .963 fielding average with just two miscues in 54 chances.

PAC honorable mentions went to senior second baseman Jason Weiland (Butler, PA/Butler), junior catcher Jeff Conaway (Freeport, PA/Freeport), and freshman pitchers J.G. Louden (Morgantown, WV/University) and Mike Suchan (Independence, OH/Independence). Weiland batted .266 and boasted a .959 fielding average, turning 12 double plays and committing just four errors in 98 chances. Conaway hit .277, while Louden and Suchan posted ERAs of 5.49 and 5.90, respectively. Louden, who roamed right field between starts, ranked fifth on the team and seventh in the PAC with a .395 batting average.

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