The Gannon University baseball team opened Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play by splitting a doubleheader with Seton Hill Friday at McConnell Family Stadium, winning game one, 4-3, and falling in the second game, 16-2.
The next day the Knights hit the road and split another pair with the Griffins in Greensburg, taking a 9-8 win in the first game before losing 8-7 in nine innings in the second game.
Prior to the meeting with Seton Hill, Gannon beat Lake Erie College, 18-6, in an out-of-conference game Thursday.
Gannon will bring an overall record of 12-7 and a PSAC mark of 2-2 into Friday’s 1 p.m. doubleheader at home against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Game one of Friday’s PSAC doubleheader with Seton Hill was an exciting one for freshman Eli Quiceno as he ended the contest on an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh.
Junior Charles Benack drew first blood for the Knights in the first inning after reaching on an error. He moved to second on a groundout before redshirt freshman Jared Beach drove him home with an RBI single.
The teams remained at a standstill until the fifth inning as the Griffins snapped the 1-1 tie with a single run and they added another run in the sixth to make it 3-1.
But Gannon junior Cody Callaway responded in the bottom of the sixth with a runner on third and two outs as he laced one over the left field wall for a two-run homer to tie the game at 3-3.
The Griffins were able to put two runners on in the top of the seventh but junior Joey Colosi thwarted their attempt after getting Mark Colella to hit into a double play. Colosi left the inning unscathed after a fly out to center ended Seton Hill’s offense for the game.
With the game tied 3-3, the Knights looked to keep the game from going into extra innings. Benack led off the bottom of the seventh and reached on another Griffin error.
Senior Andy Wagner played some small ball as he laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Benack to second base.
Redshirt sophomore Nate Cardy was intentionally walked, which was followed up by a walk to Beach.
Up next was freshman Quiceno who worked a 3-1 count before drilling the next delivery past the pitcher up the middle, scoring Benack to win the game, 4-3.
Despite being nervous before going up to the plate, Quiceno said he told himself to relax and do his job.
“When I hit the walk-off it felt awesome,” Quiceno said. “I saw my teammates running after me to celebrate. It was a great feeling; it felt like I won the World Series or something.”
Quiceno said he is enjoying being a part of the team as a freshman as he has made a lot of positive relationships and the coaches are constantly pushing him to get better, while also creating a fun environment to play in.
Game two wasn’t as successful for the Knights as they lost 16-2. Seton Hill scored five runs in the first and led 14-0 before Gannon scored twice in the bottom of the sixth on Kyle Cox’s two-run single. Gannon managed six hits in the game, with Matt Oruch accounting for two of them.
In similar fashion to Friday, the Knights won Saturday’s first game but lost the nightcap.
In its first at-bats Saturday, Gannon was able to scrape across a run after Wagner singled to center, stole second base and scored on Quiceno’s two-out, RBI single.
Seton Hill answered with a run in the bottom of the first inning to tie it at 1-1.
Cardy came up big in the top of the third with a solo shot to left field, giving the Knights a 2-1 lead.
Gannon added three runs in the fourth after Benack ignited the run with a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch with a 2-2 count.
Two more runs followed after a Seton Hill error, making the score 5-1 in favor of the Knights.
The Griffins pushed a run across in the bottom of the fourth, which was answered as Callaway hit his second home run of the weekend to push two runs across.
With the score at 7-2, Oruch scored on a wild pitch in the sixth and Cardy crossed home after junior Mike Colosi hit an RBI single to left, putting the Knights ahead, 9-2.
Seton Hill rallied back with two runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.
After Seton Hill’s Austin Braendel hit his second home run of the game to cut Gannon’s lead to 9-8, Joey Colosi came out of the bullpen to shut down the Griffins and get the final out to secure the 9-8 victory.
In the second contest, the Knights struck in the first inning but the Griffins quickly answered. The game went back and forth until the seventh as the score was tied at 6-6.
Seton Hill was able to put a runner on second but Joey Colosi struck out the Griffins’ Ryan Grieco to force the game into extra innings.
Gannon took the advantage in the top of the eighth as Quiceno led off with a single and moved to second on an outfield error. Wagner moved him to third on a groundout to first and Quiceno scored on a sacrifice fly by Callaway.
The Griffins responded with a run in the eighth to tie the game, and they enjoyed the last laugh when pinch hitter Carl Turner delivered a bases-loaded single to secure the walk-off win.
Following Friday’s home doubleheader with IUP, the Knights will travel to Indiana Saturday for another doubleheader at 1 p.m. on the Crimson Hawks’ home turf.
Gannon also will entertain Notre Dame College of Ohio in a 2 p.m. nonconference game Wednesday, April 5, at McConnell Family Stadium.