May 20 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Sophomore catcher T.J. Zarewicz (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) lined a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Bethany College baseball team a 7-6 victory over Penn State-Altoona in the ECAC South Region Tournament quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at Bethany Park.
The victory advances the fourth-seeded Bison (21-17) into the semifinals Saturday at #1 seed and host Wesley College (27-13) in Dover, Del. Bethany and the Wolverines will play the second semifinal at 12:30 p.m. following the opening contest between #2 Neumann (Pa.) University (19-17-1) and #6 LaRoche (22-17) at 9 a.m. The semifinal winners will face off for the ECAC South championship at 4 p.m.
The Bison struck first in Thursday’s quarterfinal against the Lions (22-23) when junior CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.) reached on an error, took second on a ground out, moved to third on an infield single by sophomore 1B Nate Tieman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) and came home on a sacrifice fly by freshman 3B Brad Kubis (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell). The margin grew to 2-0 in the second when sophomore DH Anthony Packer (River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley Regional) hit a leadoff single, was sacrificed to second and raced home on Dillinger’s two-out RBI single.
Bethany freshman starter Zach Kozlowski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) held Altoona scoreless through the first three innings, but the Lions finally reached the BC right-hander in the fourth on an RBI double by 3B Ryan Pollicino to make it a 2-1 contest.
The pitchers kept control of the game until the sixth inning, when the Bison struck for a trio of runs. Following a Packer single with one out, freshman SS Alex Evans (Washington, Pa.) hit a two-out triple down the right-field line to push the advantage to 3-1. That was followed by a Dillinger RBI double and after he stole third, senior LF Mark Cummins (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) beat out a bunt single to score Dillinger and increase the Green and White lead to 5-1.
After being held to just four hits through the first six frames, Altoona’s bats came alive in the seventh. A leadoff walk was followed by a two-run opposite field home run by DH Clint Wilson. Then two singles were sandwiched around an error to load the bases and RF Cord Heine brought in a pair with a double to right-center to even the score at 5-5. The Lions moved in front for the first time in the eighth when a two-out error put a runner on second and CF Jimmy Baum lined an RBI double down the left-field line for a 6-5 Altoona lead.
Bethany answered right back to tie the score in the last of the eighth. Freshman PH Chuck Ziants (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) rolled a leadoff single through the right side and following a sacrifice bunt, Dillinger continued his huge day by ripping a single to left that scored freshman pinch-runner Jack Graham (Cadiz, Ohio/Harrison Central) to draw BC even at 6-6.
In the top of the ninth, Bison freshman Ryan Styche (Beuna Vista, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) had two strikeouts, as he retired the Lions in order. Bethany’s winning rally in the ninth started when Kubis drew a leadoff walk and was sacrifice to second. After a ground out to third and a walk to Packer, Zarewicz, who had just entered the game in the top of the ninth, tagged the winning single to left-center that brought in Kubis and sent the Bison into the semifinals.
Dillinger led the Bison sticks by going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Packer had two hits and scored twice and Tieman had a pair of singles. Styche picked up the win in relief to improve to 2-1 for the year, while Kozlowski took the no decision after going six innings and allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits while striking out six and walking one.