JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (May 1) – Freshman third baseman Evan King (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) delivered the game-winning, walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday afternoon, as the California University of Pennsylvania baseball team won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship against No. 14 Kutztown, 10-9, to secure the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
With the victory, the Vulcans improve to 32-16 overall this year and claimed the third PSAC title in school history and first since 2004. The win also guaranteed Cal U a place in the upcoming NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history. Meanwhile, Kutztown falls 37-12 and will likely receive an at-large bid to the six-team regional tournament after entering the week ranked second in the Atlantic Region.
After Kutztown took an 8-6 lead entering the bottom of the eight, Cal U countered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to claim the lead, 9-8. The Golden Bears then evened the score in top of the ninth with a two-out single before the Vulcans posted their third walk-off victory in the last five games.
The bottom of the night started with a single and fielder’s choice before a walk gave Cal U runners on first and second with one out. After a pair of pinch runners entered the game, the Golden Bears forced an infield-fly popup for the second out. King then placed a single over the second baseman that allowed freshman Giovanni Morales (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph’s Prep) to score from second for the game-winning run.
Senior Nick Schreiber (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle Antrim), who recorded the save last night, earned the victory after working 1.2 innings of relief and allowed one run (unearned) on three hits and no walks with two strikeouts. Kutztown reliever Mike Bucklin (7-2) was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs (all earned) on four hits in 1.0 inning of work.
Senior right fielder Sam DiMatteo (Center, Pa./Center) finished the game going 3-for-4 with one homer, two RBI, three runs and one steal. Following the title game, DiMatteo (right with head coach Mike Conte) was selected the PSAC Tournament Most Valuable Player after hitting .588 (10-for-17) over four games with three extra-base hits, four RBI, six runs and three stolen bases.
Cal U took its first lead of the game in the third when sophomore center fielder Troy Handza (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) lined a two-run double, 2-1. The two teams then traded runs in the fourth before the Vulcans added a pair of runs in the fifth. DiMatteo belted a solo homer over (11th of the season; 31st of his career) over the left-centerfield brick wall and junior second baseman Aaron Ordy (Butler, Pa./Butler) collected a two-out RBI double, 5-2.
After the Golden Bears evened the score in the top of the sixth, the Vulcans reclaimed the lead on a RBI single by DiMatteo that scored King, who started the two-out rally with a double. Kutztown again tied the game in the seventh before taking an 8-6 lead in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, junior left fielder Chuck Faust (Hershey, Pa./Hershey) blasted a solo homer (sixth of the season) over the “Screen Monster” and junior first baseman Adam Links (New Hope, Pa./Central Bucks East) collected a two-run single with the bases loaded.
Kutztown opened the top of the ninth with a single by catcher Mike Kacelowicz, who advanced to second on an error following a failed pickoff attempt. Schrieber then forced a popup and registered a strikeout before Kacelowicz moved to third on a wild pitch. The Golden Bears evened the score with a two-out RBI single by second baseman Cody Montz. Schreiber then induced a groundout to Ordy to retire the side. The Vulcans responded by scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth for the third in their last five games.
Freshman catcher Kyle Petty (Stewartsville, N.J./Phillipsburg) finished the game with three hits, while King and Faust each collected multi-hit games. King also scored two runs and Faust finished with a pair of RBI.
Junior left-hander Sean Welsh (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) took a no-decision in only his second start of the season, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts in 6.0 innings. Freshman Tyler Zimm (Fayetteville, W.Va./Oak Hill), who tossed a complete-game on Wednesday in the PSAC Tournament, then worked 1.1 innings of relief and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits.
The Vulcans will wait until next Sunday, May 9, to find out where and who they will play in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA selection show will be webstreamed live on May 9 at 10 p.m. on The winner of the regional tournament advances to the 2010 NCAA Division II College World Series in Cary, N.C., from May 22-29.