W&J sweeps Misericordia to secure spot in Division III College World Series

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DALLAS, Pa. -- The Washington & Jefferson College baseball team held off host Misericordia University for a 5-4 victory to secure the NCAA Division III South Super Regional Championship. With the series victory over the Cougars, W&J earns a spot in next week's NCAA Division III College World Series. 

The win is the ninth straight for the Presidents as the Red and Black improves to 37-11 overall. Misericordia finishes the season with a 35-13 overall record. The victory helps W&J keep intact its perfect 8-0 record during the 2019 postseason. This will mark W&J's second appearance in the College World Series. The Presidents finished as the national runner-up in 2017. 
The Presidents put up three runs in the top of first inning and picked up a wire-to-wire victory in a matchup of perennial NCAA qualifiers. W&J recorded four consecutive singles to begin the game. With Dante Dalesandro(Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) on third and Mullen Socha (Independence, Ohio/St. Ignatius) on first, James Artale(Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) singled to left to plate Dalesandro. The next at-bat, Adam Moore (Olean, N.Y./Archbishop Walsh) scored Socha. Spencer Howell (Oakwood, Ohio/Oakwood) drove in the final run with a sac fly to right.
With a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the fourth inning, the Presidents recorded their first extra-base hit of the game to get another run. With Nick Guercio (Cabot, Pa./Knoch) on first, Dalesandro smacked a double down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position. Guercio scored on the next batter after a wild pitch to give W&J a 4-2 advantage. 
The Cougars answered right back in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff single before taking advantage of a W&J defensive miscue that put the potential game-tying runner on first base. After a sacrifice bunt moved the Misericordia runners to second and third, an RBI groundout cut the Presidents' lead to 4-3. Michael Zito (Nashville, Tenn./Hume-Fogg) escaped further damage with an inning ending groundout to help deserve maintain the lead. 
The score remained 4-3 until the top of the seventh inning. Artale led off with a bloop single into shallow right field before Moore reached base on an infield single. A successful sacrifice bunt by Joey Bolick (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) advanced Artale and Moore. After a groundout retired Artale at home plate, Moore scored on a wild pitch to extend the edge to 5-3. That run proved costly for Misericordia later in the ballgame.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cougars took advantage of an infield double on a pop-up that fell around the pitcher's mound. A two-out RBI single closed the Cougars deficit to 5-4. W&J closer Clay Martin (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) was able to escape further damage when he got a pop up for the third out to end the threat. 
Martin made sure that there was no drama in the ninth inning as he retired the Cougars in order to secure the victory for the Presidents. Martin tossed a season-high 3.0 innings of relief to earn his school record 11th save. Martin allowed one unearned run on three hits. Zito picked up the win in relief, logging 3.0 strong innings of work. Zito allowed an unearned run on three hits. 
W&J pounded out 12 hits, which included multi-hit efforts by Dalesandro, Artale, Moore and Bolick. After starting the season with a 3-7 record, W&J has won 30 of the past 34 games. 
The Presidents will be joined by the other seven super regional winners at the College World Series. The pool play double-elimination championship will be held at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on May 31 through June 5.