The West Chester University baseball team took three of four from Shippensburg over the weekend to clinch the regular-season PSAC Eastern Division title for the second straight year. The Golden Rams surged past University of the Sciences (Phila.), 8-2 to claim the 10th annual Bill Giles championship at Citizen’s Bank Park on Tuesday afternoon. The Golden Rams won its seventh Bill Giles title, including the last three consecutively.
WCU are now 5-0 at Citizen’s Bank Park since it opened in 2004. For the second time in the last three years, USP (4-33) dropped the Bill Giles championship game to WCU.
WCU got on the board first in the third inning when senior shortstop Nick Spisak reached on an error by USP’s first basemen. With two outs in the inning, Kevin McGrath took off on contact and was able to score from first base.
Joe Wendle and Kyle Orensky teamed up with back-to-back doubles as West Chester took a 3-0 lead on three unearned runs.
The Golden Rams took a 5-0 lead when McGrath hit a two-run homerun that cleared the 387-foot sign in left-center in the fifth inning. Brandon Wolfe came through with an RBI single that scored Charlie Kelly in the sixth inning.
Kelly smashed a solo homerun off the facade of the upper deck in the top of the eighth inning to make the score 7-0. Following Kelly’s long-ball, Wolfe doubled into the right field corner and would later score on a double from McGrath.
Kelly and McGrath each finished 2-for-4, with a pair of runs scored. McGrath lead the team in the Bill Giles championship game with three RBI. “It was a thrill,” said McGrath, in regards to hitting a homerun at Citizens Bank Park. “I along with the rest of the team feel fortunate to get a chance to play at the home of the Phillies.”
Head coach Mark Jackson sent seven different WCU pitchers to the mound. Together they allowed just six hits over the nine innings. Dave Stieg picked up his fourth win in Tuesday’s Bill Giles championship victory. Stieg threw two shut-out innings. John Hopkins came on and pitched two scoreless innings. Opalka followed Hopkins and also tossed a scoreless inning.
Craig Carroll was touched for a pair of runs in the sixth. Jared Lehman, Dan Doyle and Carmen Daddario all pitched a single inning without allowing a single hit. Combined they retired the last 10 USP batters in order to close out the game.
Luke Peyton (0-3) took the loss for the USP Devils. Peyton allowed two earned runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out five WCU batters in four innings of work.
WCU swept Shippensburg in a PSAC baseball doubleheader at Fairchild stadium, Friday afternoon. Wendle got the scoring started with an RBI groundout in the first inning of game one. Later in the inning Orensky hit a sacrifice fly to give the Golden Rams an early 2-0 lead.
Wendle and Orensky teamed up again in the third inning, both players singled in a run in the top of the third that gave WCU some insurance runs and a 4-0 lead. Sophomore right-hander Jordan Lehman (5-0) started for WCU and had a solid outing. He threw a complete-game, allowing two hits, two walks while striking out three Shippensburg batters.
Lehman allowed just two runs in game one of Friday’s doubleheader. Nate Umberger (1-9) tossed a complete-game for Shippensburg. Umberger gave up two earned runs on five hits, walked two and struck out five.
In game two, the Golden Rams came from behind to pull out the win against Shippensburg. WCU trailed 5-3 through three innings of play. WCU’s offense came to life in the fourth and fifth inning to put the game out of reach. Three runs were scored in the fourth and five WCU players crossed the plate in the fifth to give West Chester an 11-3 advantage.
Spisak singled in a run in the fourth, while Wendle drove home two with a base hit.
Matt Baer hit a RBI double in the fifth inning, Spisak knocked in another run with a sacrifice fly. West Chester’s 12th and 13th runs came from Charlie Kelly’s two-run homerun in the sixth inning which made the score 13-5.
Fred Briedenbach (10-1) got the win in game two. With that win Briedenbach tied the school record for wins in a single season. The freshman started and pitched six strong innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, while walking one and striking out seven. Daddario came on in relief to pitch the seventh inning.
WCU split a doubleheader with Shippensburg University at Serpico stadium, Saturday afternoon. WCU won game one 11-2, but fell in game two by a score of 12-8. Matt Baer had a big day at the plate, with a homerun and four RBIs. Orensky and catcher Bob Stumpo both went 3-for-4 at the plate. Stumpo had three RBI and Orensky drove home a pair.
Dave Stieg (5-2) gave up seven hits and allowed just two runs in a complete-game effort. Stieg walked two and struck out five batters in his seven innings of work. WCU put up four runs in the third and four more in the sixth to take a controlling 8-0 lead.
Shippensburg’s Ted Williams (2-6) also threw a complete-game in the loss. Williams was ruffed up by the Golden Rams bats: he allowed 16 hits and 11 runs.
In game two, Shippensburg ended their season on a high note by defeating WCU 12-8. Shippensburg broke a 6-6 tie with five runs in the top half of the fifth inning. They finished their season with a 13-36 record. Daddario (4-3) took the loss for West Chester. He gave up five runs on four hits in two innings of relief.
Wendle was 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Baer followed up his game one performance by going 2-for-4 with four more RBI and two runs scored.
The Golden Rams finished the 2010 regular season with an impressive 35-10 record which earned them the PSAC East division title. Head coach Mark Jackson’s club was 17-7 within the PSAC conference.
WCU will now play their next game in Johnstown, Pennsylvania where they will open up the 2010 PSAC baseball tournament as the No. 1 seed of the Eastern Division. The Golden Rams will take on Slippery Rock in the first round. Slippery Rock finished as the four-seed in the PSAC Western Division with a 24-20 overall record.
Steven Fisher is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at SF674180@wcupa.edu.