March 28, 2012

Top of the Order Powers Spartans to Win over Messiah

YORK, PA – The York College baseball team earned their third win in their last three games as they posted an 8-6 non-conference win over Messiah College on Wednesday in York.

The Spartans improve to 8-12 overall while the Falcons fall to 5-16 for the campaign.

The Falcons jumped on Spartan starter David Walker early in the game. Walker, one of York's top returning pitchers from last year, was making his first appearance of the season as he missed the opening third of the season due to injury.

Messiah's Sam Tajiri opened the game with a swing bunt to third that Spartan third sacker Justin Cohen couldn't field cleanly on the all-or-nothing play. Walker then threw away a pick off, allowing Tajiri to move to third. He scored the game's first run three pitches later as Jon Lapp lifted a sacrifice fly to center, giving the Falcons the 1-0 lead.

Messiah added to the lead four batters later John Brubaker plated Paul Mellinger courtesy of RBI single to center.

After the Spartans went quietly in the bottom of the first, Messiah's nine-hole hitter Matt Turman stroked a line drive home run to left center, giving the Falcons a 3-0 lead. The home run was the first in 42 innings played a Jaquet Field this season.

York got something going in the second but bad base running cut a promising inning short. Freshman Derek Pitzer started the frame with a line drive single to right center. Cohen then coaxed a walk to put Spartans at first and second. Freshman catcher Adam Bartholomew put down a sacrifice bunt to move Pitzer to third and Cohen to second. Pitzer scored when Nic Long singled to left center, just eluding a diving attempt by Tajiri in centerfield. With runners at the corners, Long attempted to advance on a ball in the dirt and was thrown out at second for the second out of the frame. Colin Porter then grounded out on a ball that likely would have scored Cohen had there been just one out for the Spartans.

The Spartans struck for a big inning in the fourth as Dustin Worthman singled and moved to second on a Messiah error. Senior Steve Tretter made the Falcons pay for the error as he launched a three-run home to the flag poles in left centerfield, putting the Spartans on top, 4-3 through three innings of play.

The Spartans had a second big inning in the fourth. Jimmy King had a two-run double while Tretter added a two-run double of his own as the Spartan lead jumped to 8-3.

Messiah got two runs back in the top of the fifth on a rocket two-run shot to left center from Ryan Brown, trimming the York lead to 8-5. The inning could have been much worse as the Falcons had runners on first and third with no outs but Spartan hurler Zach Philippi got a pop out, a strikeout and another pop out to extricate himself from the inning without any further damage.

The Falcons got one run closer in the sixth with an RBI single from Brown but Spartan reliever Dan McNamara would get out of the inning without any further damage.

The Spartans had chances to blow the game wide open as York left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings, only to come away empty handed. The Spartans also had runners on in the seventh and eighth innings only to have double plays erase the base runners.

Philippi earned the win in relief as he improves to 2-1. He allowed three runs, on five hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Senior Brandon Ullom registered the save as he tossed an uneventful ninth inning. The save is his fourth of the year. McNamara pitched well out of the pen for York as he tossed 2.2 innings, allowing one hit with two strikeouts on a very efficient 23 pitches.

Galen Halteman suffered the loss for Messiah as the Falcon starter allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits with two walks and a strikeout. He falls to 1-2 with the loss. Reliever Colby Helgerson had a rough day as the submariner allowed three runs on three hits with a walk as he did not record an out in the fourth inning. The Falcons three relievers that followed Helgerson combined to throw 4.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits, five walks and two strikeouts.

Tretter had a big day for York, as he was 3-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored. His home run was his second of the year. Worthman also had three hits while he scored twice for YCP. King contributed two hits, two runs scored and an RBI. The top four hitters in the Spartan lineup combined to go 8-for-13 with six RBI and six runs scored.

Brown led the Falcons as he was 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored, as his home run was his fifth of the season. Tajiri and Lapp each added two hits while Brubaker and Mellinger also had a pair of knocks for the Falcons.

The Spartans finished the game with 13 runners left on base while the Falcons were a tick better, stranding 10.

The Green and White returns to action on Thursday afternoon when they travel to Kean University to face the Cougars in a non-conference contest. Game time is set for 3:30 pm.

Photo: Steve Tretter gets congratulated at home plate after his home run. Photo courtesy of Zach Rogers, Student Photographer

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