Pfeiffer Captures ECAC Title With 9-7 Win Over Grove City
Erie, Pa. (May 19, 2019) – Top-seeded Pfeiffer University defeated third-seeded Grove City College, 9-7, to capture the 2019 ECAC Division III Baseball Championship on Sunday afternoon. The Falcons improved to 30-8 while Grove City dropped to 28-16 to end the season.
In the opening frame, Grove City wasted no time taking an early 5-0 lead. With one down, Junior Matt Dayton (Allison Park, Pa.) singled to center, senior Micah Burke (Gilbert, Ariz.) was hit by a pitch and senior Travis Auth (Medina, Ohio) walked to load the bases. Dayton scored off a walk by senior Bobby Dulay (Youngstown, Ohio) to make it, 1-0. Burke then was able to score off a pass ball, and both Auth and Dulay each moved up 90-feet. Junior Bobby Abbott's (Westfield, N.J.) tripled to center cleared the bases to make it, 4-0. He later scored on an infield single to the shortstop by sophomore Jesse Clary (Cranberry Township, Pa.).
Pfeiffer climbed back to make it a 5-4 game in the bottom of the second. Freshman Blake Winebarger (Yadkinville, N.C.) doubled down the right field line to start while junior Ira Dorin (Lithia Springs, Ga.) walked to put runners on first and second. Both runners scored off a double to center by sophomore Kyler Fairchild (Taylorsville, N.C.) to make it, 5-2. He later took third on a wild pitch. Junior Bryan Kowalski's (Oviedo, Fla.) infield single to short allowed Fairchild to cross the plate and make it a two run game. Kowalski later stole second with two down and then scored off a double down the right field line by freshman Bryce Marsh (Asheboro, N.C.).
The Falcons took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third to make it, 6-4. Back-to-back walks by senior Chaston Gordon (Riverview, Fla.) and Winebarger started the inning. Gordon later moved to third on a fielder's choice by Dorin, while Winebarger was out on the play. Dorin took advantage of a wild pitch that allowed him to move up 90-feet. On a walk to Fairchild that turned into a passed ball situation allowed Gordon to score to tie the game at five. Dorin moved up to third on the play and later scored on a wild pitch to give the Falcons the lead before the inning ended.
In the bottom of the fifth, Pfeiffer plated three runs on three hits to push the lead to, 9-5. Dorin singled to center and moved to second as Kowalski drew a one-out walk. A fielder's choice by freshman Zach Ferrell (Apex, N.C.) allowed Dorin to take third to put runners on the corners. As Kowalski was out on the play at second. Senior Matt Striplin (Kernersville, N.C.) drove in both Dorin and Ferrell as he doubled to left field to push the lead to, 8-5. Striplin later scored off a double to center by Marsh to make it a four-run lead.
The Wolverines chipped away to make it a 9-7 game in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Bubba Hamilton (Waynesboro, Pa.) blasted a solo shot to get everything started as it that forced Pfeiffer to make its second pitching change of the inning. With one down, Auth reached first on a dropped third strike and later stole second. He later came around to score off an error by the second baseman that allowed Dulay to reach first.
Reliever Holden Carter (Darlington, S.C.) picked up the win on the bump to improve to 7-1 for Pfeiffer. The senior threw five scoreless innings allowing two hits, four walks and striking out four.
The Falcons set a season-high with six doubles breaking the previous record (5) back on April 2 against Oglethorpe University
Marsh finished the day going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. He also picked up his six save of the season for Pfeiffer. Teammates Winebarger and Striplin combined going 4-for-9 with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs scored, a stolen base and a walk. Striplin and Kirby Lambert (Robbins, N.C.) also earned All-Tournament Team honors for their performances throughout the tournament.
Pfeiffer's Nick Richmond (Reidsville, N.C.) was named the 2019 Most Valuable Player for his performance in the semifinals against Wilson College on Saturday. The junior threw a complete game allowing two hits and two runs while striking out 15 to earn the win to finish 7-0 on the year.
Grove City's Abbott earned All-Tournament Team honors as he went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, a triple and a run scored. He was also joined by Austin Wacker (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and John Bini (Staten Island, N.Y.) on the All-Tournament Team.
Sophomore reliever D.J. Newby (McKeesport, Pa.) suffered the loss on the mound to fall to 1-6 to close out season. He allowed five runs on three hits over three innings of work.