Presidents Outlast Saints In 15 Innings
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – In the longest game in school history, fifth-seeded Washington & Jefferson College scored four runs in the top of the 15th inning and held on for an 11-8 victory over sixth-seeded Thomas More at Art Nehf Field Friday night in a NCAA Division III Mideast Regional elimination game. The victory, which took five hours and two minutes to complete, propels W&J into another elimination game with two-time defending national champion Marietta Saturday at noon.
The Presidents (33-12), playing their second extra-inning game in less than 12 hours (28 total innings), collected 25 hits and used only three pitchers during the 15-inning affair. W&J eliminated No. 3 Wooster 8-7 in 13 innings earlier on Friday, a game in which the first pitch was thrown at 10:00 am (May 17). The final pitch of the W&J-TMC game was tossed at 2:07 am (May 18).
All nine W&J starters recorded at least one hit, including seven multi-hit performances. Senior center fielder Scott Brady (Allison Park, Pa./Hampton) produced a career-best five hits and scored twice, while junior catcher Ronny Peirish (Wexford, Pa./Pine-Richland) added four hits and two RBI.
Junior right hander Eddie Nogay (Weirton, W. Va./Madonna) upped his career record to 22-1 (school-record 12 wins this spring) after firing the final five innings in relief, allowing one earned run on one hit, while striking out six. Classmate Mike Vizzini (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) kept the Presidents alive by producing a key eight shutout innings after entering the game in the third.
W&J loaded the bases in the 15th with three-straight singles and junior right fielder Josh Staniscia (Export, Pa./Franklin Regional) broke the tie after grounding into a fielder’s choice that plated a run. Peirish followed with a run-scoring single, while junior third baseman Kyle McLain’s (East Amherst, N.Y./Canisius) two-run triple broke the game open.
TMC scored one run in the bottom half of the 15th and threatened for more with two runners aboard and one out, but Nogay induced a game-ending double play to secure the victory for the Presidents.
W&J jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second behind RBI singles from Brady and junior first baseman D.J. Michalski (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan); however, Thomas More responded with seven runs over the next two innings to take a four-run advantage.
Brady singled to lead off the fourth and came around to score on Staniscia’s base hit to left. Peirish followed with a run-scoring, infield single, slashing the Saints’ lead to 7-5.
The score remained the same until the top of the seventh when Brady started a two-out rally with a single. Freshman shortstop Michael Ruffing (Brunswick, Ohio/St. Ignatius) was hit by a pitch, moving Brady to second, and he came around to score on senior second baseman Scott Liller’s (Moon Township, Pa./Moon) base hit. Michalski followed with a walk to load the bases, but Thomas More reliever David Etschied forced a fly out to avoid further damage.
The Presidents knotted the game in the eighth as junior catcher Tyler Schultz (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville) singled home Peirish.
Etschied was the tough-luck loser for TMC after firing nine innings, allowing six earned runs on 14 hits, while striking out seven. Cody Makin paced the Saints' offense with four hits.