Baseball secures conference spot

The Allegheny Baseball team clinched a spot in the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament after winning three games against Oberlin College this past weekend.

“Our goal each year is to win the conference championship and making the playoffs is the first step,” said head coach Kelly Swiney. “I know the guys have worked extremely hard to accomplish this goal and I’m really proud of the team.”

The Gators started the series with a 9–5 win in game one of Friday’s double header.  Phil Morisette, ’13, led the Gators at the plate with two hits in three at bats, scoring one run and driving in four.  Jeff Dassner, ’13, Andy Schleihauf, ’10, Ben Lowmaster, ’12 and Aaron Lynch, ’12, also added RBIs.  David Strawser, ’11, earned the win on the mound recording nine strike outs and allowing three earned runs in seven innings pitched.

“Getting the first one really took a lot of pressure off because we knew we only had to get one more to be in the tournament,” said third baseman, Anthony Wilbur, ’10.

The Gators were unable get the win in game two on Friday, and lost 1–0 after a great pitching performance by Matt Dishong, ’10.  Dishong allowed zero earned runs and struck out 13 batters in the tough loss.  Offensively, the Gators only recorded two hits and left six runners on base.

“Every team has a slump now and then, but I still felt confident that our team would find a way to scratch some runs on the board and get us a win Saturday,” said Dishong.

The Gators did just that, but in dramatic fashion in game one Saturday.  After being down 3–1 the Gators tied the game in the fifth from a Matt Stahl, ’10, sacrifice fly ball, and an error by Yeoman shortstop, Matt Fish.  The game was decided in the bottom of the seventh inning when Morisette hit a ball through the legs of the Yeoman first baseman with two outs and the bases loaded.  Matt Niedzwiecki, ’13, was the winning pitcher.

“As a coach you’d like to win the game instead of having the other team give it to you by making an error, but in that situation a win is a win and it propelled us to the playoffs,” Swiney said.

The Gators put an exclamation mark on the series by winning 9–1 in game two on Saturday.  Fago was the winning pitcher, allowing just one earned run in seven innings, while the offense found a way to score nine runs off six hits.

“It was nice to close out the series with a commanding victory,” said Swiney. “It was important for us to get some momentum heading into the tournament next weekend.”

The tournament will take place in Chillicothe, Ohio, from Thursday until Saturday. The Gators last trip to the NCAC tournament was in 2007. Since then, they have narrowly missed the cut twice.

“We’re trying to restore the winning tradition of the Allegheny baseball program and this was a big step in the right direction,” Swiney said.