WASHINGTON — The Gallaudet University baseball team had the opportunity to lock up the top seed in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) tournament on Saturday but dropped both games to Penn St.-Abington, 5-3 and 6-2, at Hoy Field. The Bison (24-15, 11-6 NEAC) still control their own destiny as a win in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Nittany Lions (18-18-1, 10-7 NEAC) will secure the No. 1 seed for the buff and blue.
Gallaudet received help today from Keuka College (20-11, 11-6 NEAC), who swept Penn St.-Berks (15-17, 11-6 NEAC) in a key NEAC doubleheader. Keuka will host Penn St.-Berks tomorrow for one nine-inning game.
In the first game, Gallaudet fielding errors hurt the Bison as the Nittany Lions capitalized on the opportunities. Gallaudet led 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning when GU senior right fielder Marcus Smith (Baltimore, Md.) committed an error that allowed two runs to score and the batter, Mike Scaringelli, made it to third base. Scaringelli then scored on a Fran Caruso triple to right-center field as Penn St.-Abington led 4-2.
A Bison error in the sixth prolonged the inning and led to another run as Tom Kreiling hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Jason Roselli as Penn St.-Abington now led 5-2. The five runs off Gallaudet starting pitcher Brandon Holsworth (Beal City, Mich.) were unearned. Holsworth (7-2) scattered six hits, walked two and struck out three as the Bison defense committed four errors. The loss is Holsworth's first in 11 starts since Feb. 23 (7-3 loss to Muhlenberg).
Freshmen Justin Strong (Charlotte, N.C.) and Blake Phillips (Dalton, Ga.) led Gallaudet with two hits each. Strong scored two of GU's three runs and Phillips drove in Strong, twice, to earn two RBI. Senior Chris Guinn (McLoud, Okla.) had a RBI triple in the sixth as the Bison cut the lead to two, 5-3.
Penn St.-Abington starting pitcher Diego Melendez (4-2) threw a complete game as he allowed three runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out seven.
The Nittany Lions took an early 1-0 lead in the second game and added to their margin in the fourth inning when they plated three runs. Penn St.-Abington outfielder A.J. Vagiliani (3-for-4, two runs) doubled with one out and moved to third on a ground out. The Nittany Lions scored three times with two outs as Roselli (two RBI) hit an infield single to the shortstop and, two batters later, Kreiling (2-for-3, two RBI) singled to center field to score Roselli and Callan Palmer.
Gallaudet ran itself out of the fifth inning when senior William Bissell (Brewer, Maine) struck out and Smith got thrown out at third base, trying to steal the base.
Scaringelli tripled in the seventh inning off Bison relief pitcher Zach Kohler (Union City, Calif.) to plate Kreiling, who doubled. Caruso then brought home Scaringelli on a sacrifice fly to left field as the Nittany Lions led 6-0.
GU didn't give up in the bottom half as JJ Klein (Cincinnati, Ohio) singled home senior Jeremy Murphy (Owings Mills, Md.) and Bissell singled home Smith. Penn St.-Abington starting pitcher Kevin Faber (6-2) got out of the jam with a strikeout, his 10th in the game, and a ground out.
Bison starting pitcher Danny O'Donnell (Olney, Md.) suffered the loss as he allowed four runs on seven hits, walked five and struck out three in 5.2 innings worked. Smith, Klein and Murphy had two hits each to pace the Bison offense.