With the split against Seton Hill University in two doubleheaders last weekend, Mercyhurst baseball claimed the top seed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division going into the PSAC tournament on April 29.
Mercyhurst defeated the Griffins in game one and two, 2-1 and 5-2, on Friday in Greensburg, Pa. On Saturday, the team fell to Seton Hill in both games at home, 2-9 and 1-3.
“We knew what we had to do going into the weekend match-up,” said junior Brendan Cox.“The team came together and got the job done.”
In Friday’s doubleheader against Seton Hill, junior Cam Knott got the start. He pitched five and two thirds innings allowing only three hits and one run scored. Junior Ben Nolan relieved Knott with two outs in the sixth inning.
Nolan pitched the rest of the sixth and seventh inning allowing one hit and had one strike out, giving him a perfect 7-0 to finish out the regular season. Mercyhurst won the first game of the series by a score of 2-1.
“Our defense really stepped up and played a great game,” said Knott. “It always helps our pitchers knowing that they’re behind us playing as well as they did.”
In game two of Friday’s doubleheader, redshirt senior Jon Klein got the start. . Klein pitched six complete innings giving up four hits, one run scored and struck out eight Griffins batters.
Junior Jake Hall closed the seventh inning and earned his seventh save of the season.
The Lakers performed offensively with junior Austin Alonge’s three runs batted in and one run scored. Senior Giancarlo Saia went two for three with an RBI while junior Hank Morrison, junior Dan Popio and Cox each contributed one hit for Mercyhurst. The Lakers went on to win the second game, 5-2, clinching the PSAC West title.
“It was a great team effort. We all pulled together and beat one of the best teams we’ve faced this year,” Cox said.
With the sweep of Friday’s doubleheader, Mercyhurst enters the PSAC tournament as the top seed in the western division.
On Saturday, Mercyhurst hosted Seton Hill in front of one of the largest crowds of the year with 237 people in attendance. Junior Matt Jaskolka started the first game of Saturday’s match-up. Jaskolka pitched five complete innings, giving up five runs on eight hits for the Griffins. Jaskolka picked up his first loss of the season and moved his record to 4-1.
Junior Mike Schnurr came in to pitch in the sixth inning and gave up three hits and four runs. Schnurr was relieved with two outs in the sixth inning by freshman Connor Ryan.
Ryan finished out the game for the Lakers, allowing no runs and no hits.
Leading the Lakers offense was red-shirt senior Ryan Seigel. Seigel was two for three in the first game of the day. Mercyhurst fell in the first game, 9-2.
In the second game, junior Colin McKee picked up his second loss of the season, making his record4-2. McKee pitched three and two-third innings allowing three runs on three hits with five strikeouts.
Hall came in to relieve McKee in the top of the fourth inning. Hall allowed no hits and struck out two. Nolan came in to close the game in the top of the seventh inning allowing only one hit.
Morrison scored a homerun in the bottom of the fourth inning, giving the Lakers their only run of the game. The Lakers fell, 3-1.
The Lakers finished the regular season with an overall record of 32-6 and 22-6 in conference play.
The next appearance for Mercyhurst is Wednesday against East Stroudsburg in the first round of the PSAC tournament. That game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in Butler.