Pitching leads W&J to sweep of #19 La Roche

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WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Strong pitching led the W&J baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of #19 La Roche College in the season-opening doubleheader at Ross Memorial Park. The Presidents posted a 4-0 shutout victory over the Redhawks in game one before recording a narrow 4-3 win in the nightcap. 

The Presidents' pitching staff blanked La Roche in 15 of 16 innings during the doubleheader en route to a pair of victories. 

Game 1 - W&J 4, La Roche 0 

Junior pitcher Ben Marsico (Bradford Woods, Pa./North Allegheny) tossed six shutout innings in the opener. Marsico allowed just three hits, striking out four and walking just one. Senior pitcher Clay Martin(Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) wrapped up the victory, recording a scoreless frame in the seventh. 

Senior infielder Mullen Socha (Independence, Ohio/St. Ignatius) provided the only offense W&J would need in the bottom of the first inning. Socha launched the 2-1 pitch over the left field fence, giving the Presidents their first home run of the season. Junior Evan Hannan (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) singled home senior James Artale (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) to extend the lead to 2-0 after the first. 

The score remained that way all the way until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Presidents tacked on two unearned insurance runs. Socha and senior shortstop Spencer Howell (Oakwood, Ohio/Oakwood) registered two-out RBI singles to extend the lead to 4-0. 

Socha and Howell recorded multi-hit efforts in the victory to pace the offense. 

Game 2 - W&J 4, La Roche 3 

After striking out the side in the first inning of game two, senior pitcher Santino Platt (Pittsburgh, Pa./OLSH) ran into trouble in the second inning, as he allowed four straight Redhawks to reach base to open the frame. The visitors used a clutch two-run single with two outs to extend their lead to 3-0. 

However, the Presidents wasted little time in responding back, as they scored four runs on just one hit in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-3 advantage. Senior first baseman Josh Crummer (Great Falls, Va./Flint Hill School) walked to start the rally for W&J. Shayne Erny (North Ridgeville, Ohio/St. Edward) then reached base via walk before Adam Jaworski (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) singled to load the bases.

From there, the Presidents were able to push across all four runs without the benefit of a hit. W&J score its first run on an Adam Moore (Olean, N.Y./Archbishop Walsh) groundout before Socha drew a bases loaded walk to cut the deficit to 3-2. Howell then lofted a fly ball into fall territory down the right field line, allowing Jaworski to race home and tie the score at 3-3. With two outs, a balk by La Roche scored Cole Reese (Greensburg, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) to give W&J the 4-3 edge. 

That was more than enough for the W&J pitching staff, as the bullpen tossed four scoreless innings of relief, allowing just three hits while striking out six La Roche batters.

Platt picked up the win, allowing three runs on four hits in five innings of work. Platt recorded seven strikeouts while walking a pair. Martin picked up his first save of the season, tossing a scoreless ninth to nail down the victory for W&J. 

W&J returns to action with a doubleheader against William Paterson University at the RussMatt Invitational in Florida on Sunday, March 10.