WESTMINSTER, Md. – McDaniel scored three runs in the bottom of eighth inning of game two to complete a doubleheader sweep of Ursinus in Centennial Conference (CC) baseball action on Saturday.
The Green Terror (24-10, 11-7 CC) held on for a 4-3 game-one victory to set up a nightcap in which a win gave the team its first CC playoff berth since 2003. Tied at 5-all in the bottom of the eighth, the hosts plated three runs to earn an 8-5 victory and the fourth seed in next weekend's conference tournament. McDaniel will travel to Johns Hopkins, which earned the top seed with a win over Muhlenberg on Sunday, for the first game of the double-elimination tournament. Game time will be finalized after Monday's pre-championship conference call.
Gio Fricchione (New Tripoli, Pa./Northwestern) picked up the save in game one and the win in relief in game two while his battery mate Chris Longo (Monroe, N.Y./Monroe Woodbury) led the offense with five total hits, three RBIs and a run scored.
Ben Gresh led the Bears (18-21, 7-11 CC) with three hits while Brandon Sullivan had two hits and three RBIs in the first game.
Tied at 3-all in game one, Longo led off the home sixth with an infield single before taking second on a wild pitch.
With two outs, Brandon Hayward (Salisbury, Md./J.M. Bennett) poked a single back up the middle to score Longo for the 4-3 lead.
After a double and walk to lead off the seventh chased starter Danny Snight (Silver Spring, Md./St. John's College) after 107 pitches, Fricchione went to third on Vince Chiaro's sacrifice attempt to get the lead runner.
A fielder's choice groundout put runners at the corners before Hayward chased down a fly ball in the gap to preserve the lead.
Fricchione worked around back-to-back singles in the night to strand the Bears' 10th and 11th runners of the day and pick up his first save of the season and handed Snight his sixth win.
After Joel Ackerman singled and Rich Guthridge was hit by a pitch, the two runners were bunted over with a Lou Argentine sacrifice before Sullivan laced a single to right field for a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
With one out in the home third, Patrick Christopher (Union Beach, N.J./St. John Vianney) dropped a single into center field before Jimmy Najera (Fort Washington, Md./DeMatha) followed with a single through the left side and Mike Freeman (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) pulled a ball through the right side to score Christopher.
James Chiorello (East Windsor, N.J./Lawrenceville Prep) followed with a single of his own to score Najera from third and tie the game.
After a popup was dropped but Ursinus was able to still force the runner at second for the second out, Longo drove a ball into center to score Freeman for a 3-2 lead.
A leadoff walk to Chiaro, one-out single from Guthridge and two-out single by Sullivan evened the game in the top of the sixth.
The Green Terror had the final say in a back-and-forth game two when Christopher sparked a one-out rally in the bottom of the eight, reaching on a fielding error.
Najera followed with a triple in the right-center gap and Freeman greeted a new pitcher with a double into the right-field corner for a 7-5 lead.
Marshall Betts (Berlin, Md./Stephen Decatur) singled through the left side with two outs to plate Freeman for an 8-5 advantage.
Fricchione worked around a two-out throwing error in the top of the ninth to pick up the win.
A Najera one-out single, stolen base, wild pitch followed by a two-out walk to Chiorello and back-to-back singles through the right side from Betts and Longo staked McDaniel to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
A Garrett Smith leadoff single in the fourth coupled with a pair of throwing errors and Josh Schnell beating the relay throw on a double-play attempt with one out cut the deficit in half.
Consecutive walks to Chiaro and Guthridge to lead off the fifth and an Argentine bunt single loaded the bases.
With a 2-0 count to Sullivan, the Green Terror went to the pen for David Pisauro (Macungie, Pa./Emmaus) in favor of starter Andrew Monger (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron). Pisauro got a ground ball on the first pitch but the play had to go to first, allowing Chiaro to score and tie the game.
Pisauro got a strikeout looking and another groundout to get out of the inning tied.
A two-out Chiorello single followed by singles from Betts and Longo put McDaniel back on top 3-2 in the bottom of the inning.
Gresh led off the sixth with a ground rule double that bounced over the right-center fence before back-to-back walks loaded the bases once again.
The Green Terror once again went to the pen for Matt Bejsiuk (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown). Ursinus ran a suicide squeeze on an 0-1 pitch that the hitter didn't make contact with and Longo was waiting to tag Gresh at the plate.
For the second time in three innings, a runner beat the double-play relay throw to allow Schnell to score, tying the game.
In the bottom of the frame, Hayward poked a single into right-center with one out before a wild pitch and groundout moved him to third with two outs.
After a play that was initially ruled a strikeout-wild pitch allowed Najera to reach and Hayward to score, the umpires convened and ruled it to be a foul ball, bringing Najera back to the plate and sending Hayward back to third.
Two pitches later, Najera roped a ball down the third-base line that was stopped but there was no play to be made, scoring Hayward for a 4-3 lead.
After Najera stole second, Freeman rocked a ball up the middle for a 5-3 advantage.
Argentine led off the seventh with a single to right before a fielding error put two on with no outs.
Smith sacrificed both runners up a base before James Hoff singled to left, scoring Argentine.
Gresh lifted a ball to right field to score Sullivan on the sacrifice fly but Hoff was gunned at second by Bejsuik trying to take the bag when the relay throw went to the fence, ending the inning.
After a leadoff single in the eighth, Fricchione returned to mound after an effective game one and got a groundout on an interference call, a strikeout and another groundout to strand the then-go-ahead run at third.
Najera, Freeman and Betts all had three-hit nightcaps while Chiorello and Longo had a pair of knocks.