READING, Pa. – The third-seed Gallaudet University baseball team clung to a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning of Saturday's North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) West Division tournament elimination game as fourth-seed SUNYIT loaded the bases with no outs and were poised for a big inning. A line drive caught by sophomore third baseman Chris Guinn (McLoud, Okla.) turned into a triple play as he tagged third base and threw to first baseman Jeremy Murphy (Owings Mills, Md.) to complete the rare feat.
Gallaudet (24-16) dodged that bullet and only allowed one ninth inning run to defeat the Wildcats 3-1 at Hintz Athletic Field on the campus of Penn St.-Berks. The loss dismisses SUNYIT (14-23) from the double elimination conference tournament. The Wildcats defeated second-seed Penn St.-Abington, 2-1, in the first elimination game on Saturday.
The Bison advance to the NEAC championship round and will face the host Nittany Lions tomorrow (Sunday, April 29) at 10 a.m. GU will need to defeat top-seed Penn St.-Berks (15-21) twice to win the NEAC West Division title. If the Bison win a second game will proceed in the afternoon.
Senior starting pitcher William Chapman (Los Angeles, Calif.) delivered a valiant effort on the mound as he pitched into the ninth inning and allowed one run on four hits, walked three and struck out six Wildcats. Chapman (3-2) was lifted for sophomore pitcher Tyler Crace (Westfield, Ind.), who only needed to face three batters to get the final two outs. Crace picked up his league leading fourth save and the Bison celebrated a huge win.
The Wildcats had a rough day in the field as they committed eight errors which had a hand in all three runs scored by the Bison. In the second inning, sophomore catcher Casey Hicks (Henderson, Nev.) doubled down the left field line with one out. Guinn flied out and was followed by Murphy, who reached on an error by the third baseman that allowed Hicks (2-for-4) to score. Freshman Mitchell Bensman (Russia, Ohio) reached on a first baseman error to prolong the inning. Sophomore Marcus Smith (Baltimore, Md.) had an infield single but it was enough to plate Murphy to give Gallaudet an early 2-0 advantage.
In the fifth inning, Bensman reached on an error by the second baseman, moved up on a wild pitch, took third on an error by the pitcher and scored on an error by the centerfielder.
SUNYIT Patrick Baker (4-4) was the hard luck losing pitcher for the Wildcats as he logged 7.1 innings, allowed three unearned runs on five hits, walked two and struck out nine Bison. The Wildcats committed their eight errors in the first six innings of play.