Pacer baseball makes history, Sweeps Gwynedd Mercy for the first time

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Pacer baseball makes history, Sweeps Gwynedd Mercy for the first time

Nic Arrue, junior marketing major, gets prepared for the second half of the season with field drills.

Nic Arrue, junior marketing major, gets prepared for the second half of the season with field drills.

Photo credit/ Autumn Granza

Nic Arrue, junior marketing major, gets prepared for the second half of the season with field drills.

Photo credit/ Autumn Granza

Photo credit/ Autumn Granza

Nic Arrue, junior marketing major, gets prepared for the second half of the season with field drills.

John Ferraro, Asst. Sports Editor

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On April 12, the visiting Marywood Pacers made history on the grounds of Gwynedd Mercy University by sweeping the Griffins in a three-game series, a first in the 21-years of the Marywood baseball program.

Last season, the script was flipped and it was the Griffins who swept the Pacers. But, Jerry Davis, head baseball coach, said one of the differences from last year was the mindset of the players.

“Our players this year are finally beginning to realize that we got a pretty good baseball team and they are playing with a little bit of swagger,” said Davis.

This swagger could be related to the Pacers’ offensive output this year. In three games against the Griffins last season, the Pacers scored only three runs. This year, the team put up 20 runs over the three-game stretch.

However, Davis said it was not the offensive numbers that was the biggest difference.

“If I have to say the biggest difference this year versus last year, it has to be that we are making plays defensively,” the coach said.

In the opening game, Marywood pitcher Joseph DiLoreto, a senior architecture major, struggled early, giving up three runs in the first two innings.

But second-year Assistant Coach Jason Theil said DiLoreto was locked in after that.

“Joey got into a hole early, but battled his way out of it and shut them [the Griffins] down,” explained Theil.

DiLoreto (3-1) did just that, not allowing the Griffins to score over his final four innings.

The Pacer offense helped DiLoreto in the fifth inning behind runs batted in by junior second baseman business management major Vince Rebar and fellow business management major senior first baseman Thomas Richards. The Pacers tacked on four more runs in the sixth to close out the scoring.

The second game of the series was much closer, something Theil said the Pacers have become accustomed to over the season. “I think we learned early that we are going to play a lot of close games, and the players know that.”

In that game, the Pacers were down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Then Daniel Hull, junior business management/marketing major, singled and eventually scored on Richards’ double to left field. Richards moved to third base on a flyout. With two outs, junior business management major Tommy Smith singled to left field, scoring Richards with the eventual game winning run.

In the final game of the series, the Griffins threw one of their best pitchers, junior Andrew Hill, at the Pacers. Davis said Hill has been a top pitcher for the Griffins for a couple years now.

“He’s been one of their most prolific starters over the last few years, but we hit him around early and got a sizable lead,” said Davis.

The Pacers caught fire in the fourth inning, tallying five runs and never looking back. Senior pitcher Russell Baldino, majoring in architecture, went six innings, allowing only two runs. Fellow senior pitcher, Bryan Noonan, a criminal justice major, finished the Griffins off, earning the save for his final three innings of work.

Davis knew about the history behind the sweep of Gwynedd.

“I was very aware. I am very aware of the history with each and every team in the conference. Yes, I was astutely aware that we swept them for the first time,” explained Davis.

After the sweep, the Pacers have both momentum and confidence, according to Theil.

“Building off a strong start, these guys want to win the conference. They feel like they are the best team in the conference. They want to win,” said Theil.

Davis echoed these comments and said he expects this team to continue to play well. “We are clicking on all cylinders,” said Davis. “We are playing all phases of the game well and kids are playing with confidence. I fully expect that to continue.”

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