COLLEGE BASEBALL W &amp; amp;J sweeps Titans in PAC showdown
The Titans lost their one-game lead in the race.
NEW WILMINGTON -- Trading places -- that is what the Westminster and Washington & amp; Jefferson baseball teams did Monday as W & amp;J won both games of the President's Athletic Conference doubleheader, 5-4 and 7-0.
Going into the action, the Titans were one game ahead of the Presidents in the PAC, but the sweep put W & amp;J (8-3) one game up on Westminster (7-4).
"Now we have to win a minimum of two more games to make it into the playoffs," Titans coach Carmen Nocera said. "At 7-4, we are in decent shape with that, but we just have to piece some things together, play a little better and go out and get a couple more victories."
W & amp;J took an early lead in the first game in the first inning on a walk to Nick Fiorilli and a sacrifice fly by Shaun Pfeil, but the Titans answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Kevin Gesacion (Boardman) doubled for the Titans before an RBI single by Don Womeldorf, a single by Mark Francazio and a two-run homer by Colby Beeson (Neshannock).
However, that would be all the scoring for Westminster. The Presidents scored single runs in the second and third innings, then went ahead with two in the top of the seventh.
"When you give a good team more than three outs [per inning], they come back and bite you," Nocera said. "We walked a couple of guys, they laid a bunt down that ended up being a borderline fair ball, foul ball.
"When we thought it was a foul ball, we kicked it out, but it was declared a fair ball by the umpire," Nocera said. "When you give good teams opportunities like that, they many times come back to hurt you."
In the second game, it was all W & amp;J as Sam Mann (Howland) pitched a complete game five-hit shutout. Mann scattered the five hits over the first six innings, issuing a pair of walks while striking out five.
"This was a big game for us because coming into today, they [Westminster] were a game up on us," Mann said. "What we needed was a strong effort by everybody and that is exactly what we got."
Nocera also had a lot of praise for Mann (3-2).
"[Sam] Mann is a real man. He is probably the best player in the conference," Nocera said. "Good pitching beats good hitting and he came out, threw strikes and did what he needed to win the game."
In the first game, Mann went 1-for-2 with a walk, a single and one run scored. Although he went hitless in four at-bats in the nightcap, his pitching effort more than made up for the lack of a hit.
"Actually, it helps me relax when I also hit when I pitch," Mann said. "If I have a rough inning, I always have the opportunity to do something with the bat so I think it [hitting and pitching] helps me both ways. I really like to hit and pitch."
With the one-game lead over the Titans, Mann was quick to point out that the Presidents can control their own destiny by winning their final four conference games.
"This is what we played all year for," Mann said. "One of our main goals was to finish first during the regular season to be able to host the conference tournament, and right now, we have put ourselves in good position to be able to do that."