Thomas More, W&J in PAC finals
Second-seeded Thomas More rallied from a 6-0 deficit by scoring the last nine runs of the game to take a 9-6 victory over top-seeded Washington & Jefferson in the winners’ bracket of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference baseball tournament at Ross Memorial Park Friday.
Thomas More (22-17) is one victory from its third PAC title and will play in the championship series Saturday at 1 p.m.
W&J (28-14) routed Waynesburg for the second straight day, this time 16-9, in an elimination game. The win assured the Prexies of a rematch with Thomas More. They need to beat the Saints twice today to win the conference title.
Against Thomas More, W&J’s Nick Vento hit two home runs – a solo home run in the first and a two-run blast in the fourth – to help the Presidents build a 6-0 lead. Kyle Smith had a two-run single and Kyle McLain drove in a run in a three-run fourth.
Craig Hyson began Thomas More’s rally with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the fourth and an RBI-single by Brad Popham made it 6-2.
The Saints scored four times in the fifth inning to tie the game, then took their first lead with two runs in the sixth. Hyson brought home the first run, and Travis Miller the second with a sacrifice fly. A squeeze bunt in the seventh added an insurance run.
Logan Miller earned the win to improve to 7-2, scattering 14 hits over seven inning. Andy Roenker allowed one hit and struck out two in the final two innings for his sixth save.
Mike Vizzini (2-2) took the loss in relief, allowing two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings. Starter Brian O’Neill gave up six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Ronny Peirish had three hits to lead the Presidents’ offense, while Josh Staniscia, McLain and Smith each had a pair of hits.
Against Waynesburg, W&J scored 11 runs in the first inning and coasting the rest of the way. Ron Peirish hit two home runs and drove in six and Josh Staniscia went 4-for-4, drove in four runs and scored four times.
Vento went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, Michael Ruffing went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, and Derek McIlvaine was 3-for-6 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Matt Bensinger had two triples, a double and scored twice in four at-bats for the Yellow Jackets. Clay Roman and Ben Shorthouse each went 2-for-4 with two runs.