ERIE, Pa. – Gallaudet University held a brief lead before it fell behind and lost, 7-3, to top-seed Penn St.-Behrend in the 2014 ECAC Division III South Championship baseball game on Sunday afternoon at Behrend Field. This is the fourth time the host Lions has won an ECAC baseball championship (2002, '03, '12, '14).
The second-seed Bison (27-18) scored two runs in the first inning and held a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. Two Bison errors and a triple by Matt Wolczko, with the bases loaded, led to five runs for the Lions (30-14).
Gallaudet got a run back in the seventh and had a chance for more as it trailed by two, 5-3. Freshman Ian Evans (Murphy, N.C.) flied out to left field and freshman Justin Strong (Charlotte, N.C.) was thrown out at home plate, trying to score on the fly out, to end the inning.
Penn St.-Behrend tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Lion relief pitcher Connor Semple earned his second save as he pitched three effective innings to close out the game. Dante DeSantis (9-3) earned the win for the Lions while Gallaudet starting pitcher Brandon Holsworth (Beal City, Mich.) took the loss. Holsworth (8-3) pitched into the eighth inning where he allowed seven runs (three earned) on nine hits, one walk and struck out four.
Senior catcher Casey Hicks (Henderson, Nev.) led the Bison at the plate (2-for-4) as he hit a triple, scored a run and had two RBI.
Gallaudet finished the season with a program best 27 victories, 45 games played and the Bison made their first postseason appearance as they went 1-1 in the ECAC Division III South Baseball Championship tournament.
This marks the end of the most successful senior class in Gallaudet's baseball history as seven players played their final game for the Bison; William Bissell (Brewer, Maine), Tyler Crace (Westfield, Ind.), Chris Guinn (McLoud, Okla.), Hicks, JJ Klein (Cincinnati, Ohio), Jeremy Murphy (Owings Mills, Md.) and Marcus Smith (Baltimore, Md.). In the past four years this class has compiled an 89-81 record (.523 winning percentage), three consecutive years of 20 wins or more, two winning records and two straight North Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season championships.