Steve Janik, Assistant Sports Information Director
BETHANY, W.Va. (April 12) - The Bethany College baseball team fell 3-2 in 10 innings to Washington & Jefferson to complete the season series with the Presidents on Wednesday at Bethany Park.
With the loss, Bethany falls to 10-13-1 overall and 5-7 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC). Meanwhile the Presidents, nationally ranked in multiple Divison III polls, improve to 17-3 on the year and stay undefeated at 12-0 in the conference standings.
Sophmore starting pitcher Nick Gross (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) went eight innings and only yielded two runs, while scattering five hits and striking out a career-high seven batters to earn a no-decision.
Offensively, senior Zack Miller (West Mifflin, Pa./West Mifflin) led the way, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Sophomore Tyler Frazee (Markleysburg, Pa./Uniontown) drove in the other run for the Bison on an RBI-single in the ninth inning, while Zach Schlotter (Twinsburg, Ohio/Gilmour Academy) and Neil Woods (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Alleghany) each contributed a pair of hits in the loss.
Gross and W&J starter Ben Marsico were locked into a pitchers duel to start the game, with only a combined two batters reaching base through the first three and a half innings.
The Bison had an opportunity in the bottom of the fourth, but stranded two runners on to keep the game scoreless.
W&J led off the sixth with a single and used small ball to crack the scoreboard. A balk advanced the runner to second, before a bunt base hit put runners at the corners for the Presidents with no one out.
A second-consecutive bunt resulted in an out, but the runner from third was able to score to put the Presidents up 1-0. Despite the next hitter grounding out to first on a weak ground ball, the runner from second attempted to score on the play. Gross threw a dart to the catcher Alex Martin (Sound Beach, N.Y./Miller Place) to record the double-play and end the frame.
After a quiet inning for Bethany, W&J added one in the seventh to increase their lead to 2-0.
In the bottom half of the eighth, the Presidents' were onto their third pitcher of the afternoon and the Bison capitalized to draw within one. Sophomore Kelaen Welch (Follansbee, W.Va./Brooke) pinch hit to lead off the inning and got a base knock to left. A groundout to third moved Welch up; two batters later, Frazee roped a single that hopped away from the second basemen allowing Welch to come all the way around to draw the Bison within one run.
Freshman Isaac Wengert (Jonestown, Pa./Northern Lebanon) came on in relief to start the ninth and worked himself into and out of a jam, allowing two base hits before getting a strikeout and and a fly out to end the inning and give the Green and White a chance in their last at-bat.
Schlotter led off the bottom of the ninth with a single through the right side before advancing to second on a wild pitch by the fourth W&J pitcher. A sacrifice bunt allowed the runner to advance to third with just one out for Miller. Miller found a gap on the left side of the infield, plating the runner and tying it up at two apiece but the Bison were unable to plate the winning run in nine innings.
A base knock led off the top of the 10th for W&J followed by a sacrifice bunt to move the runner up. Wengert induced a ground out to the right side but the runner at second advanced a base. Adam LaRue was up for the Presidents and smoked a liner just out of the leaping reach of junior Ryan Nickerson (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach) at second, allowing the evenutaul winning run to cross. The following W&J hitter singled to right center, but a smooth cutoff play from centerfield had the out at the plate to keep the deficit at one.
Bethany was unable to keep the game alive, going down in order in its final attempt, securing a season-sweep for the Presidents.
Next up, Bethany travels to Greenville, Pennsylvania on Friday, April 14 to take on Thiel in a single nine-inning game, before hosting the Tomcats for a doubleheader on Saturday set to begin at 1 p.m.