Drew squeaks past Moravian
Murray hits walk-off homer to give Rangers first Landmark title
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Senior Tom Murray hit a one-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give fourth seed, Drew (22-19) a 10-9 victory against host and top seed Moravian (28-16) on Monday afternoon at Gillepsie Field. The Rangers win their first Landmark conference championship and earn an automatic berth to the 2012 NCAA tournament.
The Rangers led the entire contest, all the way up until the Greyhounds final at bat. Moravian erased a four-run Ranger deficit in the top half of the ninth inning to tie the game up at nine. Murray, the second batter of the inning, cracked a 1-1 fastball over the right field wall for his third home run of the season and the Rangers 21st win of the year.
Drew took control of the game early, scoring the game's first run in the top of the first inning. Freshman Steve Kowalski brought home Michael Bodden who reached earlier on in the inning on one of his two hits on the afternoon.
The Rangers did their damage in the fourth and sixth innings, totaling seven runs. The scoring of the fourth saw Bodden score for the second time in the contest off a two-RBI single by Pete Tuchol. Bodden and Tuchol each had two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs in the game.
In the sixth the Rangers opened up a 9-2 advantage after sending nine batters to the plate. Freshman Mike Chiarella delivered his second RBI single of the game to kick off the four-run frame. Bodden hurt the Greyhounds again later in the inning, lining a single up the middle that scored two runs and pushed the Rangers lead to seven.
Freshman Matthew Hunter turned in another gutty pitching performance on the mound. He allowed only four earned runs in seven and one third innings of work. He pitched the Rangers out of a number of jams early in the contest, eventually giving way to reliever Pat Rock with one out in the eighth.
The Greyhounds staged their comeback in their final two turns at the plate, scoring seven runs between the eighth and ninth innings. After scoring three runs in the eighth, one off Gregg Steinman's third home run of the spring, the Rangers were one out away in the ninth inning from a conference championship.
Moravian strung together five consecutive hits and made the score 9-7 on an RBI single by Blake Shortall. Two batters later, David Zubia tied the game up at nine with a two-RBI single to up the middle. Rock struck out the final batter of the inning to get the Rangers to the bottom of the inning and set the stage for Murray.
The Greyhounds used four pitchers in the game and allowed a total of ten walks in the contest. Rob Solano gave up three runs on three hits and five walks in three-plus innings of action while Jason Jamula allowed two runs, one earned, on a hit and two walks in a third of an inning. Chris Soltys was touched for four unearned runs on four hits and four walks in 3.2 innings while senior Kyle Longernecker took the loss after giving up a run on a hit to go with a walk and a strikeout in 1.1 innings.
The two wins this weekend against Moravian were the first two since entering the Landmark Conference in 2008. The Rangers 21 wins are now the second most in school history.