Offense powers W&J past La Roche, 10-6

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- A seven-run second inning helped guide the Washington & Jefferson College baseball team to a 10-6 victory over regional rival La Roche College in a non-conference game Tuesday afternoon. 

The win improves the Presidents to 26-10 overall while the Redhawks drop to 24-12. The win gives W&J a three-game sweep of the season series with La Roche. 

The late-season matchup pitted two regionally ranked teams in the Mideast Region. W&J (Presidents' Athletic Conference) and La Roche (Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference) entered with a combined 35-4 record in conference play. The two teams have already secured first place regular season finishes and hosting rights for their respective upcoming conference tournaments. 

W&J used an early offensive surge to build a commanding lead. Dante Dalesandro (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) led off the game with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Crummer (Great Falls, Va./Flint Hill School) to get W&J on the board first in the opening inning. 

The Presidents tacked on seven runs on five hits in the second inning to extend the lead to 8-0. Adam Moore (Olean, N.Y./Archbishop Walsh) walked and Joey Bolick (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) reached on a hit by pitch to open the inning. After a strikeout, Justin Griffin (Lombard, Ill./Glenbard East) knocked in Moore on an RBI double down the left field line to give W&J a 2-0 edge. 

Shayne Erny (North Ridgeville, Ohio/St. Edward) and Mullen Socha (Independence, Ohio/St. Ignatius) each added RBI singles in the frame to make the score 4-0. After another sacrifice fly by Crummer scored Erny, James Artale recorded the game's biggest hit, a three-run home run to give W&J an 8-0 advantage. 

La Roche would not go quietly, tallying a run in the bottom of the second before adding four more runs in the third inning to cut the deficit to 8-5.

W&J starter Nick Drake (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) settled down and held the host Redhawks scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings. The Presidents would benefit from a pair of unearned insurance runs in the latter stages of the contest as the visitors nailed down the victory. 

Drake picked up the victory, improving to 3-2 on the mound this season. The sophomore allowed five earned runs over 5.0 innings of work. He struck out three and did not issue a walk.

Michael Zito (Nashville, Tenn./Hume-Fogg) put together a strong effort out of the W&J bullpen, as the sophomore worked 3.0 innings to register his second save of the season. Zito allowed just one run on three hits while striking out five. Griffin, Artale and Dalesandro recorded three hits apiece during a 13-hit attack by the Red and Black. 

W&J hosts Mount Union for another non-conference tilt on Wednesday, May 1. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Ross Memorial Park.