Penn State Berks Wins Third-Straight NEAC Baseball Championship

Penn State Berks Wins Third-Straight NEAC Baseball Championship

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – A long, rainy Sunday ended with Penn State Berks defeating Penn College, 17-12, to give the Nittany Lions their third-straight North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Baseball Championship. The double-elimination tournament was hosted at the Hintz Athletic Fields on the campus of Penn State Berks.

Boxscore

The two teams took the field Sunday morning amidst a light drizzle in a race against the rain to crown a champion with Penn State Berks snagging an early lead on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first. The Nittany Lions offense exploded for six runs in the bottom of the second with Tyler Comport (Boyertown, Pa.) hitting a three-run  home run to make it a 7-0 game.

The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the fourth when Richard Lennon (Morgantown, Pa.) sent the ball over the left field fence to bring home two runs. Penn College followed with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners before the rain became too much to handle. The teams patiently sat through an hour and thirty minute delay before play resumed and the Wildcats added one more run on a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 7-3.

Comport came through again in the fifth for the Nittany Lions, sending a two-run single down the left field line, before Cory Fox (Boyertown, Pa.) brought home two more on a double to left center to stretch the lead to 11-3 in the sixth.

Things got interesting in the top of the seventh when Penn College brought 12 batters to the plate and scored eight runs to draw even at 11-11. Brittan Kittle (Millville, Pa.) provided the biggest blow of the inning with a three-run blast to left field while Alex Zelger (Red Lion, Pa.) drove in a pair on a two-out single up the middle. The Nittany Lions quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning, capitalizing on two errors and scoring five runs to regain the lead. Toby Welk (Downingtown, Pa.) added an insurance run in the eighth for Berks with a no-doubter beyond the left field scoreboard to make it 17-11.

The Wildcats threatened again in the bottom of the eighth with runners on second and third before the Nittany Lions recorded two quick outs. Deric Ellerman (Landisburg, Pa.) scored on a single by Cody Cline (Waynesboro, Pa.) before a play at the plate ended the game and sent the Nittany Lions into celebration mode.

Comport was named Tournament Most Valuable Player after going 2-for-5 with a home run, five RBIs and two runs scored in Sunday’s championship game. He also tossed eight shutout innings and struck out seven in the opening game of the tournament on Friday to lead Berks to a 16-0 win over Keuka College.

Fox finished the day with three hits, four RBIs and three runs scored in the Nittany Lions’ win while Welk went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, four runs and three walks. Penn College had nine players with two or more hits as the Wildcats outhit the Nittany Lions, 19-13. Lennon went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run while Zelger and Kittle each had three RBIs.

Penn State Berks used three arms in the win with Drew Skrocki (Royersford, Pa.) ending the pitcher of record after recording one out in the seventh inning. Brandon Griesemer (Boyertown, Pa.) held Berks lock up the win, allowing one run in two innings of relief. Penn College sent seven pitchers to the mound with Hunter Thomas (Elizabethtown, Pa.) suffering the hard-luck loss after giving up two earned runs on one hit in 1/3 of an inning.

After their second-straight appearance in the NEAC Championship game, the Wildcats wrap up the year at 20-15 overall. The Nittany Lions improve to 25-10 and will receive an automatic berth to the 2018 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament. The tournament field will be announced later tonight at 11:59 p.m. at NCAA.com.

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.