Thursday, April 22, 2004
By Bob Heller
Trailing 5-3 and down to their last strike in their final at-bat, the USP men's baseball team scored three runs to defeat Philadelphia University 6-5 to advance to the championship game of the Bill Giles Division II Tournament.
The win marks the first time in the four-year history of the tournament that the Devils will play for the Championship Trophy. The game will be played at the Philadelphia Phillies new ball park- Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, April 27th at 7 p.m. the Devils will take on West Chester University (34-7) who defeated Wilmington College, 6-5 earlier in the week. The Golden Ram's are ranked 16th nationally as of the April 19th poll. This will be the first collegiate and non-Phillies game to be played in the new ball park.
Corey Hider (Lake Charles-Boston HS/Lake Charles, LA) led off the top of the ninth for the Devils, trailing 5-3 with a strikeout.Matt Batko (Mark T. Sheehan HS/Wallingford, CT) reached base on an infield error. Chip Wukitsch (Allentown Central Catholic/Slatington, PA) came in to run for Batko. Ronny Sanchez (St. Peter's Prep HS/Union City, NJ) followed with a single as Wukitsch advanced to second. Gaise Lacek (Lake-Lehman HS/Harveys Lake, PA) came in to pinch-hit for Rich Cipoletti (Half Hollow Hills HS West/Dix Hills, NY) and flied out. With the Devils down to their last out, leadoff hitter Nick Condo (Monsignor Bonner HS/Collingdale, PA) had two strikes on him and a 2-2 count before delivering a single to score Wukitsch as Sanchez advanced to third, keeping the Devils hopes alive. Condo advanced to second on the throw. Eric Woerheide (Oak Forest HS/Midlothian, IL) followed with a single, scoring Sanchez and Condo and giving the Devils a 6-5 lead. Doug Smith (Middletown HS/Middletown, PA) grounded out to first to end the inning.
With Rene Rodriguez (St. Peter's Prep HS/Union City, NJ) on the mound in the ninth, the Devils quickly got two outs before Rodriguez walked Sean Krozner, putting the tying run on first.The Ram's Keith Heck then hit a grounder to first baseman Michael DeVincenzo (Bishop Hoban HS/Plains, PA) who fielded it cleanly for the third and final out of the game, preserving the win for USP.
Rodriguez (2-3), who pitched the final three innings, picked up the win for the Devils (10-21).
Hider's RBI double in the second inning put the Devils on the board with a 1-0 lead. Single runs in the fourth and fifth innings built the lead to 3-0 before Philadelphia took the lead with one run in the sixth and three in the seventh. The Rams scored once more in the eight to lead 5-3 setting the scene for the Devils dramatic comeback.
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