Allegheny head coach Kelly Swiney hadn’t stepped foot on the Gators’ baseball diamond for a meaningful game since he graduated from atop the hill in 1999.

He found the return, well, delightful.

Allegheny gave its new head coach a pair of victories in his return to the Robertson Athletic Complex on Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader from North Coast Athletic Conference foe Hiram,11-8 and 8-3, in front of a large crowd for a March college baseball game.

“It was a good day,” Swiney said. “It means a lot to me. It was pretty neat to be on the field again and see the guys performing well.”

In the opener, both teams put on an offensive display that makes pitchers cringe and ERAs rise.

The Terriers, which entered the contest batting a robust .290, proved the average was no fluke. That was no more apparent than with the heart of the order — three, four and five hitters Mark Riefsnyder, Craig Dobos and Steve Dunn.

The trio gave the Gators headaches the entire game. In the first inning, Riefsnyder singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Dobos. Three innings later, the duo did it again ... and exactly the same way. Reifsnyder singled, advanced on a passed ball and Dobos plated him with a single.

Dunn made his statement an inning later, in the fifth, when he followed up a Dobos RBI single with a towering two run blast that cut Allegheny’s lead to 11-6.

Fortunately for AC, they had already gotten plenty of offense leading up to that point.

“(Hiram’s) pitchers were not bad,” said Mike Pereslucha. “But we hit four doubles to the right-centerfield wall, which is huge because you have to stay on the pitch. We came in with a good approach as a team and knew we had to get some runs.”

Pereslucha was one of the key reasons for that.

The junior utility player helped give Allegheny its own power-packed combination of hitters in the fourth through seventh hole — Alex Herrnberger, Pereslucha, Andy Schleihauf and Matt Stahl.

Pereslucha and Stahl scored the first two runs for AC in the second, coming home on a double by second baseman Steve Beckett. Then the Blue and Gold put together back-to-back big innings.

Herrnberger got on base with a key error before Pereslucha and Schleihauf hit back-to-back doubles. Stahl then roped an RBI single as AC scored five to take a 7-1 lead.

After the Terriers scored twice to make it 7-3, Allegheny responded with a four-run fourth. The inning was sparked by a Herrnberger RBI single and Schleihauf’s two-run double. All told, the quintet went 8-for-16 with three doubles, seven runs and eight RBIs.

“We have been hitting the ball well since the end of our Florida trip,” said Swiney. “But we did not make an error (Saturday) either. If we can keep that and the hitting going, we have enough pitching.”

The nightcap looked like it was going to follow much the same script.

Tied 3-3 after just 2 2/3 innings, Swiney made a pitching move. Starter J.R. Hess, who had dynamite stuff but ran into some trouble hitting his spots, was pulled and Justin Abbot took the mound. What followed can only be described as Major League.

Abbot, with his sidearm — and occasional submarine — delivery perplexed the Hiram hitters. The junior went the remaining 4 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and holding the Terriers’ big-three to a combined 0-for-3 with two ground outs. Abbot was so good, he recorded the final 13 outs on just 48 pitches. That amounts to 3.69 pitches per out or 3.2 pitches per each of the 15 batters he faced.

“Hiram has been struggling record wise, but they have been hitting the ball well,” Swiney said. “(Abbot) threw three shutout innings on Wednesday against Pitt-Bradford and to bring him back on two-days rest and get four plus innings on minimal pitches ... And he came in in a tight spot there — second and third with two outs and the game tied.

“He got us out of it and that fired the guys up behind him. Then they come out and take the lead in the fourth inning.

Stahl got the fourth-inning rally going with a one-out single. After a walk and fielder’s choice left runners on the corners, leadoff man Aaron Lynch roped a two-run triple to snap the 3-3 tie. Beckett drove in Lynch with a single, and Herrnberger later drove in the final nail with an RBI single to make it 7-3 in the inning.

Allegheny and Hiram will complete the four-game set today at 1 p.m. back at Robertson Field. Swiney expects to throw General McLane alum Aaron Skalko in the opener and either J.R. Hess or Matt Dishong in the nightcap.



Matthew Digiacomo can be reached at 724-6370, ext. 278 or by e-mail at mdigiacomo@meadvilletribune.com.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you