Baseball downs Kutztown, falls to No. 18 Mercyhurst

WILSON, N.C. – After a one-run loss to nationally-ranked Mercyhurst to open the day, the Saint Anselm College baseball team rebounded with a 5-3 victory over Kutztown to conclude Saturday's doubleheader.

Mercyhurst, the 18th-ranked team in NCAA Division II by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, improves to 6-1 with the result. Kutztown falls to 1-5 on the year while the Hawks move to 3-8, heading into an 11:30 a.m. game against Lock Haven on Sunday.

Game 1 - Mercyhurst 6, Saint Anselm 5 (Box Score)

With the score deadlocked at five in the top of the ninth inning against Mercyhurst, senior Tyler McKeon (Rutland, Mass.) led off the frame with a double. The Hawks attempted to move the runner over, but a sacrifice bunt attempt was unsuccessful. A groundout and a strikeout ended the inning for Saint Anselm.

In the bottom of the ninth, a leadoff walk advanced to third base after a long double to center field by Mercyhurst. Following an intentional walk, the Hawks were able to get the first out on a swinging strike three. With one out, a Mercyhurst batter lofted a fly ball to center field to score the baserunner from third to end the contest.

Saint Anselm jumped ahead in the first inning as a two-run home run by junior Salvatore Pezzolla (East Greenbush, N.Y.) drove home freshman Jack Dunklee (Wilbraham, Mass.), who walked with one out in the frame. After yielding a run in the bottom of the second, the Hawks tacked on three additional runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined, thanks to two sacrifice flies and a bases-loaded walk by McKeon.

Down by a 5-1 margin, Mercyhurst brought the game even in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring four runs on three hits. Two of the three hits produced runs with the outlying run scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Sophomore Brian Wojichowski (Portsmouth, R.I.) hurled six strong innings, allowing only three runs while striking out nine batters. Junior Ryan Schworer (Medfield, Mass.) came on in relief, retiring two batters but allowing two runs on as many hits. Freshman David Hunter (Middleton, Mass.) drew the loss for Saint Anselm, allowing three hits while striking out two batters.

McKeon finished with two hits, leading the Hawks.

Game 2 – Saint Anselm 5, Kutztown 3 (BOX SCORE)

Kutztown led by a 2-0 margin through four complete innings before the Hawks scored a run in the fifth and three in the sixth inning. McKeon scored on an error in the Hawks half of the fifth inning and in the three-run sixth inning, a fielder's choice and a two-run error propelled Saint Anselm into the lead.

A bases-loaded walk by Kutztown was countered by a run-scoring triple by sophomore Matthew Butigian (Plainview, N.Y.), driving home sophomore Max Silverman (Westford, Mass.), who reached on a two-out walk.

Sophomore Will Conaton (Windham, N.H.) earned the win for the Hawks, pitching the team through six-and-a-third innings while striking out seven batters. Freshman Taylor French (Goffstown, N.H.) locked down his first career save, striking out three batters in two-and-two-thirds innings pitched. He allowed only one hit and gave up only two walks.

McKeon had two hits in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, finishing with four on the day. He carries a four-game hitting streak into play on Sunday.