The Gannon baseball team used a good old-fashion pitching gem and a slugfest to sweep a road doubleheader at Indiana (Pa.) Sunday afternoon. The Golden Knights posted the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division sweep by scores of 4-1 and 9-7.
Sunday’s victories improved Gannon to 15-9 overall and 9-3 in the PSAC Western Division. Those figures represent the best 24-game overall start and 12-game conference start in school history.
In the opener, Matt Wilwohl (Erie, Pa./McDowell) and Shayne Herold (LeRoy, N.Y./LeRoy) shut down the league’s third-best hitting offense. Wilwohl improved to 2-3 with 6 2/3 innings of work, allowing only a seventh-inning run. The sophomore gave up five hits, struck out four and walked four. He has allowed only three runs or fewer during all five starts this season.
The Erie, Pa., native set down 12 consecutive hitters, before allowing a two-out single during the sixth inning. Trailing 4-0, IUP finally got to Wilwohl when Brett Quiggle hit a lead-off homer in the bottom of the seventh. The Crimson Hawks managed to load the bases with two outs when head coach Nate Cocolin called upon Herold to douse the fire. And he did so by striking out Ryan Uhl for his third save of the season.
Gannon, ranked 10th in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Atlantic Region Poll, scored all the runs it would need with a three-run first inning. After two quick outs, Michael Tomko (Sharon, Pa./Sharon) singled and scored on a Nico Baldelli (Ellwood, Pa./Riverside) single. Aaron Cox (Dorchester, N.J./Millville) then blasted his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right center.
The Golden Knights added another two-out run in the six for insurance. Baldelli started the rally with a double and came home on Cox’s RBI single during the next at-bat.
Gannon’s 2-5 hitters went 7-for-14 with four runs and four RBIs. Cox finished 2-for-3 with one run and three RBIs. Baldelli was 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI. Dylan Schwegler (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell Area) also chipped in two hits.
The nightcap didn’t feature the same type of pitching. The two teams combined to score 16 runs on 22 hits while exchanging the lead four times.
Gannon appeared to be in control with a 6-2 lead after scoring three times in the third and twice in the fourth. Baldelli had an RBI single and Cox produced a two-run, two-out double in the third. Baldelli stayed hot with a bases-loaded single in the fourth that brought home two more runs.
Things took a drastic change in the bottom of the fourth inning as Indiana (Pa.) exploded for five runs. David McNeill’s two-out, bases-clearing double was the big blow that pushed the Crimson Hawks in front 7-6.
As Gannon has done all season, the Golden Knights immediately responded. Mark DeVita (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) scored the tying run on a passed ball with two outs in the fifth.
It should come as no surprise to Gannon fans at this point of the season when the winning runs crossed the plate — with two outs. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases in the sixth, before Bob Roach (Erie, Pa./McDowell) drove home the two decisive runs with a single to center field.
Indiana (Pa.) had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Crimson Hawks had the tying runs in scoring position, but Herold struck out Jordan DeLuca looking to end the threat.
Eight different Golden Knights scored a run during the nightcap. Baldelli finished 3-for-5 with one run and three RBIs. DeVita went 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Roach and Taylor Anderson (Niagara Falls, Ontario/A.N. Myer Secondary) both recorded two hits, one run and two RBIs.
Three Gannon pitchers forged together seven innings on the mound. Jeff Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic) started the affair, allowing only one run in 1 2/3 innings. David Spaeder (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep) followed with another 1 2/3 innings of relief. Herold completed the final 3 2/3 innings to pick up his fifth victory without a defeat. The redshirt senior surrendered one run on four hits, striking out four and walking one.
Indiana, which was among others receiving votes in the latest NCBWA Atlantic Region Poll, dropped to 14-13 overall and 2-6 in the PSAC West. Gannon returns to action Friday, April 12 against Mansfield at Gannon University Field. The non-conference twinbill is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Published Apr. 7, 2013 on www.gannonsports.com