The West Chester Golden Rams (24-7, 14-4 PSAC), nationally ranked 21st in Division II baseball and the PSAC division leading team, began the week capturing their 12th Bill Giles tournament championship and splitting a close doubleheader against division foe Bloomsburg University.

On their way to a Tuesday afternoon victory (8-5) against the University of Sciences (11-22) at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Rams were able to capture their third consecutive Bill Giles championship, a tournament that pits West Chester University, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia University and Wilmington College against one another to determine the best team in the Philadelphia area.

Behind a team effort on the mound (3-4), and three RBI night at the plate from junior shortstop Nick Ward, the purple and gold of West Chester was able to fend off a late, four-run ninth inning comeback attempt for the Devils of the University of Sciences and come away with the three-run victory. Ward was able to spray the ball into all parts of the ball park with his first RBI of the game coming off of a second inning triple to left and two singles into center and right field to record his other two RBIs on the night in the sixth and eighth inning respectively.

Senior lefty Dalton Reed (1-0) was able to record his first victory of the season starting the game for the Rams and going the first three innings, allowing no earned runs while striking out one in the process. Eight other West Chester pitchers saw time on the rubber in the nine-inning championship game, while the University of Sciences threw out one less pitcher with eight going for the Devils throughout the entire championship game.

Mother nature and her rain once again interfered with this week’s scheduled PSAC baseball games with the Rams Friday doubleheader to be played at Serpico Stadium in West Chester moved to the rear end of the back-to-back doubleheader against Bloomsburg University (21-17-1, PSAC 8-9-1). With the baseball squad traveling to the Huskies Saturday, they were able to split the away two game series (1-1) with both games being decided by one run apiece, with a 3-4 loss and 5-4 win, respectively.

In game one of the away doubleheader, the purple and gold were unable to complete the four-run comeback after falling behind 4-0 after the fourth inning. With an Anthony Salomone RBI double in the fifth, and a sixth inning two-run home run into right field by junior first baseman Shane Dressler, the Rams were able to get the score back within one run, but were unable to score any more runs the remainder of the first game.

Right-handed sophomore Jon Fisher (4-2) was able to go the entire game for the Rams in the losing effort for the first game. Only allowing four earned runs on six hits, Fisher was able to strike out six Huskies out of the 22 batters he faced in his six innings of work.

The second game of the back-to-back away doubleheader against Bloomsburg proved a different story for West Chester, as they were able to come back from an 0-2 first inning deficit with the help of a three-run fourth inning. The Rams were able to come away with the victory after they maintained a 4-3 lead and win with the final score of 5-4. Ward was able to record two RBIs, as Joe Sheeran scored two runs in the top half of the fourth inning to switch the scoreboard from 1-2, and go up 4-2.

On their way to a 5-4 victory and getting back on the winning track after losing their first game in the front half of the away double, West Chester capitalized on a seventh inning single by Dressler into right field, which scored Ward from third base and ensured the victory for the Rams.

In two and a third innings of work, right-handed senior Josh McClain (6-0) came in for the Rams with two outs in the bottom half of the fifth inning, capturing the win for West Chester and striking out two along the way.

On Sunday, April 23, the Rams will finish their back-to-back doubleheader against the Huskies, where they look to extend their lead in the PSAC division over second place Lock Haven University (27-11, 13-7 PSAC).

Right-handed senior Andrew Gernert (3-0) will be featured in the second game of the doubleheader, as he looks to continue his undefeated streak and get the purple and gold back on the winning track.

Maxwell Randolph can be reached at MR829829@wcupa.edu.

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