Lions End Season With ECAC Championship
DOVER, DE – The Penn State Behrend baseball team captured the 2012 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Region Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon. The Lions defeated Wesley 13-10 for their third ECAC title.
Behrend fell behind 6-3 after five innings but rallied in the sixth for seven runs to earn their 29th victory of the season.
Matt Bittner (Lancaster, NY/St. Mary's) left the yard in the first for a two-run homer to get the Lions off to a good start. Wesley answered with single runs in the bottom half of the first and second to tie the game at 2-all.
After Behrend briefly took a 3-2 lead in the third, the Wolverines came right back with four in their half of the inning. The Lions' bats were silenced in the fourth and fifth with Wesley clinging to a 6-3 lead.
In the sixth though, Behrend erupted for seven runs on six hits. Bittner and Ryan Geibel (East Butler, PA/Butler) both singled to start the inning. Following a Ryan Finnegan (Fombell, PA/Riverside) walk, Nathan Junk (Cabot, PA/Knoch) and Vinny Rice (Harmony, PA/Seneca Valley) hit back-to-back RBI singles to cut the Wolverines lead to just one.
The big blow in the inning came off the bat of senior Joe Paterniti (Jamestown, NY/Jamestown). Paterniti laced a bases-clearing double to right center for three RBIs. When it was all over, the Lions erased the three-run deficit and were now leading, 10-6.
Behrend added three runs in the final three innings which proved to be crucial with Wesley putting up four in the ninth.
Ryan Jacobs (Port Vue, PA/South Allegheny) picked up his eighth win of the season, throwing six innings of relief. Jacobs struck out four to tie the school record for strikeouts in a single season.
Ryan Kragnes (Bethel Park, PA/Bethel Park) led the offense with four hits from the lead-off spot. Bukowski, Bittner, and Geible each contributed two hits. Paterniti was named tournament MVP after going 2-for-3 with three RBIs.