Last Updated: Sun May 14, 2023 - 1:32AM
A year ago, Seton Hill failed to qualify for the PSAC Baseball Tournament. Despite that void, the Griffins still advanced to the NCAA Atlantic Regional, but saw their season end with consecutive losses to West Chester.
This week, the Griffins gained their measure of revenge in both regards, as they overwhelmed the competition throughout the four-day PSAC tournament, and capped off their golden performance with a 10-0 victory against West Chester at Jack Critchfield Park at Slippery Rock University.
In winning their third PSAC title, the Griffins improved to 44-10, and secured an automatic berth to the NCAA Atlantic Regional.
“We came in here on a mission,” said Seton Hill head coach Marc Marizzaldi. “These guys are playing the game extremely well right now. I just cut them loose and let them play.”
After winning each of the first three games of the tournament in lopsided fashion, Seton Hill remained dominant on Saturday, as they defeated the Golden Rams via the run rule in the eighth inning. SHU scored four times in the second inning to gain the lead, and tacked on in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth for the victory. Meanwhile, Andino Vecchiolla, Michael Marinchak, and Blake Barker combined to blank West Chester.
The Griffins opened the scoring when Max Mandler and Braden Durham notched consecutive hits and Joe Fiedor drew a walk to load the bases. Noah Sweeney then delivered a sacrifice fly, Durham scored on a balk, and Vinny Rauso produced a two-run single to cap the inning.
Rauso delivered another RBI single in the fourth, as he plated Jack Whalen, who singled and stole second. Whalen, the PSAC West Freshman of the Year, stole two bases to establish a new single-season record for SHU.
The Griffins pulled away in the fifth, as Logan Vietmeier doubled, Owen Sabol walked, Mandler doubled, and Durham tripled to increase the advantage to 8-0.
Seton Hill sealed the win when Rauso singled and scored in each the sixth and eighth innings, and Barker retired the side to preserve the shutout.
Rauso, the senior catcher, compiled a 5-for-5 effort at the plate with three RBIs and two runs. For his efforts, he was selected as the Tournament MVP.
“Every time I’m up to bat, I’m just trying to get on base,” he noted. “Just really a strong focus on being as simple as I can this year.”
Additionally, Mandler went 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Durham compiled two hits, two RBIs, and a walk.
The Griffins opened the tournament on Wednesday, dispatching Shippensburg 12-1 in seven innings. The following day, SHU bested Cal U 12-3. The Griffins defeated West Chester on consecutive days, including a 14-4 triumph in eight innings on Friday. In total, Seton Hill outscored their adversaries 48-8 over the four days.
“We did a lot of things really well this week,” Marizzaldi noted.
As a result, the Griffins are likely to host an Atlantic Regional Tournament next week. While reaching and winning the PSAC tournament was a significant goal for Seton Hill, the Griffins still have bigger objectives in their sights.
“You celebrate tonight. You enjoy it for sure,” Rauso said following the PSAC triumph. “Tomorrow morning, it’s right back to the regional. We can celebrate in four weeks when it’s all over.”