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California (Pa.) Athletics | April 6, 2014

Mike Conte records 500th win as California (Pa.) sweeps doubleheader

  Mike Conte surpassed 500 career wins with a doubleheader sweep.

WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Head coach Mike Conte reached the 500-win mark on Sunday, as California University of Pennsylvania swept a doubleheader against IUP in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West play, winning 5-1 and 8-1.

With the sweep, the Vulcans improved to 16-12 overall and moved to 5-7 in league action. Meanwhile, the Crimson Hawks dropped to 11-14 this season behind a 5-7 record in divisional play.

Conte is one of three active head coaches in the PSAC, and 42 active head coaches in NCAA Division II, to reach the 500-win plateau. Already the all-time winningest coach in program history, he is the first Cal U head coach of a men's sport to total at least 500 career victories. Conte has posted a 501-342-4 overall record (.594) in his 18 years as a head coach and has been selected the PSAC West Coach of the Year seven times.

In Game 1, junior Justin Taylor earned his third complete-game victory of the year while improving his record to 4-3. He yielded one run (earned) and scattered eight hits with no walks over 7.0 innings. Taylor established a career high with nine strikeouts and forced the Crimson Hawks to leave seven runners on base. IUP starter Kyle Zaorski (3-4) suffered the loss after allowing five runs (all earned) on six hits and eight walks in 4.1 innings.

The Vulcans loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first before Zaorski worked out of the inning without allowing a run. In the second, IUP threatened with runners on the corners and one out before a fielder's choice resulted in sophomore third baseman Mick Fennell  throwing out a runner at home.

In the bottom of the third, Cal U took a 1-0 lead on a two-out RBI single by senior right fielder Chuck Gasti. The Vulcans added to the lead by scoring four runs in the fourth, including three runs with two outs. Junior center fielder Chris Mitko lined a triple to left center before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Fennell. Sophomore designated hitter David Marcus later delivered an RBI single through the middle and junior shortstop Matt Peters followed with a two-run single.

The Crimson Hawks trimmed the deficit to 5-1 in the top of the fifth with a two-out RBI double. Cal U looked to answer in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with three consecutive walks before a ground-out ended the threat.

Six different players collected a hit in the victory for the Vulcans. Fennell, who was batting leadoff for the first time since March 1, finished without an official at-bat after drawing three walks and posting a sacrifice fly.

In Game 2, sophomore Jack Dennis earned the win after scattering three hits over 5.2 scoreless innings. He prevented the Crimson Hawks from advancing a runner into scoring position while improving his record to 3-2 this year. IUP starter Zach DeTillio (3-2) was saddled with the loss after being roughed up for eight runs (all earned) on six hits and two walks in 3.2 innings.

The Vulcans took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run single by Peters with two outs. Cal U batted around in the fourth inning, scoring six runs on five hits, one walk and one hit by pitch. With runners on first and second, Gasti lined an RBI single through the right side before senior second baseman Giovanni Morales later posted an RBI single to left center. Senior left fielder John Orr delivered a bases-loaded, two-run single before scoring on a two-run single by senior first baseman Derrik Zeroski.

IUP avoided the shutout by scoring an unearned run in the top of seventh, benefiting from a pair of errors in the inning.

Orr and Morales each tallied a pair of hits and Fennell scored two runs in the victory. Orr, Peters and Zeroski all finished with two RBI and one run scored in Game 2.

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