May 7 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College baseball team fought back from an early 5-0 deficit to knock off Grove City 7-6 Friday at Bethany Park, which kept their hopes alive for a berth in next week’s PAC Tournament.
The Wolverines (16-17, 9-7), who have already clinched a spot in the conference playoffs, scored twice in the first, twice in the second and once more in the third to take a 5-0 advantage. Even after the Bison managed one run in the third on a double play, GCC answered right back with a score in the fourth to keep a 6-1 lead.
Bethany (20-15, 6-10) started chipping away in the fourth inning with two runs. The first scored on a throwing error and the other crossed after a two-out RBI single by sophomore DH Anthony Packer (River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley Regional). Two more Green and White runs in the fifth brought the home team within a run at 6-5. Freshman SS Alex Evans (Washington, Pa.) hit a leadoff single and scored when junior CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.) belted an RBI double to left-center. After a sacrifice, sophomore 1B Nate Tieman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) singled in Dillinger to make it a one-run margin.
Neither team scored in the sixth, but Bethany grabbed the lead with two runs in the seventh. Dillinger started the winning rally with a leadoff double and scored on a Grove City error off a ball hit by senior LF Mark Cummins (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional). Tieman followed with a bunt single and then a fly out moved Cummins to third. Junior 2B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) brought in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly that gave BC a 7-6 lead.
Grove City tried to mount comebacks in their final two-at-bats, but both threats were extinguished by double plays. Junior Mike Kochman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Serra Catholic), who entered in relief in the fifth inning, completed 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief when SS Andrew Patterson lined out to first baseman Tieman, who doubled up LF Butch Kriger after he singled to start the inning.
In the ninth, Bison freshman closer Brad Kubis (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) gave up a one-out single, but the next batter popped into a 6-3 double play to end the game, which added to Kubis’ single-season save record with his 12th. Kochman earned the win with his stellar effort in relief, moving his mark to 4-3.
At the plate, BC totaled 14 hits, including three players with three each. Tieman and Packer each had three hits and one RBI, while Evans managed a trio of singles and scored once. Dillinger ripped a pair of doubles and scored twice in the win.
Bethany (6-10 in PAC) entered the final weekend of the regular season needing two wins over Grove City in their three-game series and Waynesburg (vs. Washington & Jefferson) and Westminster (vs. Thomas More) to get swept in their sets this weekend. If either Waynesburg (6-10 following Friday’s loss to W&J) or Westminster (6-9) win one game, then BC would need to sweep the Wolverines. The Bison and GCC are scheduled for a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. in Grove City.