A late-inning rally fell one run short as West Chester University captured their fifth Bill Giles Invitational championship with a 7-6 win over the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. The teams met on the diamond at Citizen’s Bank Park—home of the Philadelphia Phillies—on Tuesday afternoon, April 9
The Golden Rams, ranked #8 nationally in the NCBWA poll (3/25) improved to 30-4 overall. USP fell to 7-15.
The Devils had jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning only to have West Chester put up five runs in the seventh to take a 7-4 lead. USP scored twice in the eighth and threatened again in the ninth before West Chester finally put them away.
In the eighth, senior Michael Curry (St. Pius X HS/Collegeville, Pa.) led off with a single and came around to score on junior David Kittle's (Camden Catholic HS/Maple Shade, N.J.) long double down the line in left field. Two batters later, Kittle raced home on infield throwing errors to pull the Devils within one. In the ninth, pinch hitter Brian Scott (Cornwall Central HS/ Cornwall, N.Y.) drew a walk to lead off the inning. Sophomore Dustin Gill (Delone Catholic HS/Hanover, Pa.) replaced him on the base paths and later stole second. Gill reached third on freshman Steve Rossi's (Bishop Ahr HS/Somerset, N.J.) infield groundout, putting the tying run just 90 feet away with only one out. Gill however was stranded at third as Curry fouled out on a nice over the shoulder catch by WCU first baseman Blair Dameron down the left field line to end the game.
West Chester had taken the 7-4 lead by scoring five runs on three hits in the seventh. Nick Spisak doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly, and Bob Stumpo's double added two more runs. A USP infield error contributed another run and Jake Griesemer's single brought home Kevin McGrath with the fifth Golden Ram run of the inning. Griesemer was subsequently thrown out trying to extend his single an extra base, and one batter later the Devils were out of the inning.
The Golden Rams did threaten in the ninth but a great play by Kittle in left on Griesemer's single, relaying a throw in to Rossi and then to catcher, senior Phil Cox, (Riverside HS/Riverton, N.J.) nailed Connor Thorp at the plate for the third out.
USP scored four times in the fourth as Curry led off with a walk and advanced on a wild pitch. Senior Phil Maher (Norristown HS/Norristown, Pa.) followed with a single, scoring Curry with the first Devil run. Freshman Pete LaRocco (Gloucester Catholic HS/Sewell, N.J.) reached on a fielders choice as Maher went to third on an error. Freshman Mark Perry (Toms River South HS/Toms River, N.J.), followed with a single to score Maher. Both runners advanced on a second WCU wild pitch and later came around on sophomore Mark Forbes' (Salesianum HS/Hockessin, Del.) double, chasing West Chester starter Mike Cope out of the game and giving USP a 4-2 lead. Greg Ball came in to pitch and shut the Devils down until their rally in the late innings.
Ball earned the win for West Chester. Sophomore Gary Thompson (Timber Creek HS/ Sicklerville, N.J.), one of seven USP pitchers used in the game, took the loss, giving up four runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. Perry and Forbes each had two hits for the Devils, who finished the game with seven, including two for extra-bases. West Chester also had seven hits with Spisak and Stumpo recording two doubles apiece. Spisak also had three stolen bases while Stumpo drove in three runs.
USP returns to conference play on Thursday, April 10, 2008 when they host Wilmington University in a Central Atlantic collegiate conference doubleheader at Ashburn field. First pitch is at 1:30 p.m.