Peirish Completes W&J’s Historic Comeback Victory Over No. 3 Marietta
WASHINGTON, Pa. – Junior catcher Ronny Peirish’s (Wexford, Pa./Pine-Richland) walk-off, book-rule double completed the biggest come-from-behind victory in Washington & Jefferson College baseball history as the Presidents overcame a nine-run deficit to defeat third-ranked and two-time defending NCAA Division III champion Marietta 11-10 at Ross Memorial Park Sunday. W&J overcame a 9-0 deficit after 2 1/2 innings to earn its first win over the Pioneers in 118 years.
Peirish sent a long, fly ball into right-center field which took one bounce and hopped over the wall, sending senior second baseman Scott Liller (Moon Township, Pa./Moon) home with the game’s winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Third-ranked Marietta (15-6) is the highest-ranked team W&J (14-5) has ever defeated as the Presidents ended an 18-game losing streak to the Pioneers that dated back to May 15, 1895.
Liller got the bottom of the ninth inning started with a base hit up the middle and moved to second on junior first baseman D.J. Michalski’s (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) sacrifice bunt. Following an intentional walk to junior right fielder Josh Staniscia (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional), Peirish smashed the first pitch he saw from Marietta pitcher Mike Mulvey into the gap for his career-high fifth hit of the afternoon.
Three of Peirish’s game-best five hits were doubles. He also knocked in a career-high four runs, while scoring twice. W&J collected 16 hits as a team, with the top four batters in the lineup accounting for 11 of those hits, along with eight runs scored.
The Presidents faced an early 9-0 hole heading into the bottom of the third inning, but W&J steadily chipped away at the Pioneer lead, scoring at least one run during each of the final seven frames. Staniscia’s two-out triple got W&J on the board and Peirish followed with an RBI base hit to make the score 9-2 after three.
Josh Ungerbuehler homered for Marietta in the fourth, but freshman shortstop Mike Ruffing (Brunswick, Ohio/St. Ignatius) quickly trimmed the deficit back to seven with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
Peirish doubled home Michalski and junior left fielder Derek McIlvaine (Washington, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) and senior center fielder Scott Brady (Allison Park, Pa./Hampton) both worked bases-loaded walks as W&J plated three more scores in the fifth.
Peirish’s RBI single added a run during the next inning and W&J tacked on one more in the seventh, cutting the Pioneer lead to 10-8.
Peirish then got the eighth inning started with a one-out double. Junior third baseman Kyle McLain (East Amherst, N.Y./Canisius) came up next and plated Peirish with a bloop single to right. Three batters later, the Presidents loaded the bases for Brady who delivered a fly ball to center field that was deep enough to score McLain, tying the game at 10.
Marietta threatened with a pair of base runners during the top of the ninth, but sophomore left hander Jared Baird (East Freedom, Pa./Central) struck out Bryan Gregorich looking and got Christian Demko to fly out to right, setting up W&J’s walk-off triumph in the bottom half of the inning.
Baird fired five scoreless innings of relief to earn the first victory of his collegiate career. He struck out a pair and allowed four hits during the outing.
Liller, Michalski and Staniscia all recorded a pair of hits and scored twice, while Brady knocked in two runs. Staniscia’s third-inning triple moved him into a four-way tie for first in program history with 12 three-base hits.
The Pioneers collected 15 hits, led by four from Aaron Hopper. Ungerbuehler knocked in three and scored two runs, while Gregorich tallied three hits.
Mulvey pitched one inning of relief and took his second loss of the season after surrendering one run on two hits.
W&J looks to build on its momentum and win its seventh-straight game on Tuesday when it returns to Presidents’ Athletic Conference play at Waynesburg (4:00 pm). The Presidents took the first two games of the season series with the Yellow Jackets on Apr. 2 in Washington.