The Gannon University baseball team won a pair of tight contests and one blowout against Clarion over the weekend to wrap up its first PSAC Tournament berth since 2013.
The Knights, ranked seventh in the latest NCBWA Atlantic Regional Poll going into this weekend’s regular-season final series with Seton Hill, improved to 28-13 overall and 16-8 in PSAC play by sweeping Clarion 2-1 and 4-3 Friday and then pummeling the Eagles 17-5 in Saturday’s first game before losing 11-10 in eight innings in the nightcap.
Several Knight players set individual milestones during the course of the weekend, including Jared Wiesen, who was named PSAC Western Division player of the week after going 11 for 16 (.688) with a .938 slugging percentage and a .737 on-base percentage during the four-game set with Clarion.
Wiesen was one of four seniors honored between games of Friday’s doubleheader as part of the Senior Day festivities at McConnell Family Stadium. Also recognized were Mark DeVita, Chris Beer and Bobby Roach.
Wiesen broke Gannon’s all-time record for career runs with 127, eclipsing the previous mark of 125 set by Eric Harpster.
Wiesen also became the second Knight to record 200 career hits and tied Chris Miller for ninth place all-time with 82 career RBIs. He also reached the top 10 in games played at 168 and the top 15 in doubles with 26.
DeVita tied Pete Calenda for ninth place all-time with his 32nd career double Friday and pitcher Nico DiPaolo set a school record when he earned his sixth save by nailing down the win in Friday’s first game.
DiPaolo broke the old mark of five held by Landon Wahl (2012) and Calenda (1998).
Knights pitcher Santiago Mendez, meanwhile, took home PSAC Western Division pitcher of the week honors after allowing only three hits and no earned runs in the 2-1 win over Clarion.
Mendez improved to 7-1 with the win and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.50. He has allowed only one run in a game four times this season.
The Knights’ biggest offensive output came in the 17-5 thrashing of Clarion in Saturday’s first game.
Wiesen, Charles Benack, Nate Cardy and Nick Restuccia each finished with three hits while Cardy drove in four and Restuccia added three RBIs.
Restuccia and DeVita each scored three runs to back Joey Colosi, who worked 6 2/3 innings to earn the win.
Gannon had no trouble in that game, opening up an 8-0 lead after two innings. The Knights scored five runs on five hits during their first at-bat.
Cardy and Restuccia both contributed two-run singles in the rally.
The blowout win set a program record for conference victories at 16, eclipsing the 2013 team that went 15-9 in PSAC play. The game also marked the third time this season that Gannon has produced at least 19 hits in a game.
In the game two loss, Wiesen, Cardy and Kyle Cox led the way with three hits apiece. The Knights’ defense had trouble, as they committed seven errors for the first time since 2006.
In the first game of Friday’s Senior Day outing, Gannon scored the only two runs it would need in the first on Cardy’s two-run double, which brought home Wiesen and DeVita.
Nico DiPaolo, working in relief of Mendez, nailed down his sixth save, which set a school record for most saves in a season, by working a scoreless seventh.
Cardy had a pair of hits to go with his two RBIs while Wiesen added two hits and scored a run.
DeVita’s run-scoring double in the ninth inning gave the Knights a walk-off win in the nightcap.
Wiesen went 3 for 4 with three runs scored while DeVita added three hits, drove in two and scored once.
David Cricks worked the first 4 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits.
Marc Demilio did not allow a run in his 3 2/3 innings of relief, striking out two and allowing two hits while DiPaolo earned the win to improve to 4-0.
Gannon concludes the regular season this weekend by traveling to Greensburg for a Friday doubleheader with Seton Hill and then hosting the Griffins in a pair Saturday at McConnell Family Stadium, with the first game scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
PSAC Tournament play won’t get underway until May 8 at Kelly Automotive Park in Butler.