Last Updated: Mon May 22, 2023 - 8:09PM
After a crushing walkoff loss to Mercyhurst on Friday, Seton Hill baseball faced a challenging proposition. In order to keep their season alive and advance to the next round, the Griffins needed to win three consecutive games, including two straight against the rival Lakers. Seton Hill achieved that feat on Sunday, as they defeated Mercyhurst 4-0 and 12-5 to win the NCAA Atlantic Regional II and advance to the Atlantic Super Regional.
“I told our guys before the game today that all the pressure was on the other team,” said Seton Hill head coach Marc Marizzaldi. “I was impressed by how composed and consistent our guys were.”
A 10-4 victory against third-seeded East Stroudsburg on Saturday gave the Griffins another crack at Mercyhurst. Subsequently, No. 2 Seton Hill received a stellar pitching effort in the first game on its home field Sunday, as Andino Vecchiolla worked eight scoreless innings in earning the victory. In the second tilt, the Griffins exploded for a dozen hits, scoring 11 runs over the first three innings to gain a lead they would never relinquish.
With the two victories, the Griffins improved to 48-11, setting up a three-game series against top seed and host Millersville on Friday and Saturday. Conversely, the Lakers conclude the campaign at 30-17.
Vecchiolla, who also started the PSAC Championship clincher for the Griffins last week, blanked the Lakers on five hits and one walk, as he struck out six.
“I had all of my pitches working today, so that helped out a lot, but it was key for me to get ahead in the counts,” Vecchiolla noted.
Blake Barker, who surrendered the winning grand slam against Mercyhurst on Friday, worked a scoreless ninth to seal the victory. The Griffins were led offensively by Logan Vietmeier, who had two RBIs, and Jack Whalen, who singled, walked, and scored twice.
The Griffins established command early in the second game, as they scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning, punctuated by a three-run homer by Max Mandler. After adding two more runs on RBI singles by Vietmeier and Owen Sabol in the second inning, SHU put the game out of reach by plating four more runs in the third, highlighted by a two-run single by Sabol.
“We threw the first punch, but then we really took the wind out of their sails,” said Marizzaldi about his squad continuing to add to its lead after the opening frame.
Brandon Bergert, who claimed a win in the opening game of the Atlantic Regional on Thursday, worked into the third inning for Seton Hill. Jack Laird and Jared Dowey limited the Lakers for most of the contest, combining to allow just one run over 4.1 innings.
The Griffins prevailed 14-6 against Shippensburg on Thursday before losing to the Lakers 8-6 on Friday in the double-elimination tournament. Their victory on Saturday, highlighted by a grand slam from Sabol in the fifth inning, eliminated East Stroudsburg from the bracket, setting the stage for the highly-anticipated conclusion on Sunday.