Spartan Comeback Falls Short in Season Opener

   ATLANTA, GA-The York College baseball team staged a huge seventh inning comeback only to have the Greensboro College Pride score two runs in the top of the ninth to secure a 9-8 victory over the Spartans in the opening game of the Rawlings Southern Classic hosted by Emory University in Atlanta, GA on Friday morning. The Spartans fall to 0-1 with the setback while the Pride improves to 3-3 for the campaign.
    After a first inning in which Spartan starter Jason Christenberry (Yoe, Pa./Dallastown) escaped unscathed, the Pride got to the Spartan ace in the second. The frame started with a strikeout, but back-to-back walks got Christenberry in trouble. A Thomas Fulcher single loaded the bases with one out. Christenberry got a force out at home for the second out but Greensboro centerfielder Ryan Laboy then laced a bases clearing double to left center, giving the Pride a 3-0 lead. Laboy came around to score when shortstop Jacob Tomb singled up the middle, giving Greensboro a 4-0 lead.
    The Pride got back on the board in the top of the fifth as Tyler O’Neill singled to short with one out. Brad Buchman singled through the left side to put runners at first and second. After Christenberry got a strikeout, he walked Zach Turton to load the bases. Christenberry appeared to get out of the jam with a ground ball to short but a Spartan error allowed O’Neill and Buchman to score, pushing the Greensboro lead to 6-0. Bobby Amato singled up the middle to drive home Turton for the third run of the inning as the Pride lead grew to 7-0.
    The Spartan offense struggled in the opening five innings as they had just three baserunners with one reaching via walk, one by error and one with a single.
    The Green and White offense finally got on track in the seventh inning. The frame began with a pair of walks from Pride starter Alex Phetteplace. Greensboro went to the pen and brought in Nevin Fulcher to face Chris Young (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Red Land) who greeted Fulcher with a single to left, loading the bases for York. Newcomer Matt Monti (Easton, Pa./Easton) delivered York’s first runs of the year with a two-run single to left. Young and Monti advanced to second and third thanks to a throwing error on Fulcher as the Spartans were in business. Junior catcher Jim Meehan (Mastic, N.Y./Eastport-South Manor Central) lashed a single to right, scoring Young with the Spartans’ third run of the inning. Sophomore Kyle Cook (Pylesville, Md./Harford) drove in Monti with a fielder’s choice and he was safe on a Greensboro throwing error. Junior Mike Connolly (Selden, N.Y./Newfield) drew a walk before Fulcher was lifted in favor of fellow reliever Gregory Allen. Allen entered the contest and promptly loaded the bases by walking Spartan clean up hitter Ryan Poff (York, Pa./Spring Grove). Senior designated hitter Matt Austin (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) then tied the game with a booming double to left center, scoring Cook, Connolly, and Poff all the way from first. Freshman Dustin Worthman (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) ran for Austin and came around to score on a C.T. Stanley (Timonium, Md./Calvert Hall College) single, giving the Spartans an 8-7 lead.
    Neither team threatened in the eight, setting the stage for the dramatic ninth inning. Cook came on to attempt to close out the game in his first career pitching appearance for York. He began the frame by walking Buchman on a 3-2 pitch. Buchman stole second before Cook got a strikeout for out number one. Cook then coaxed Turton into a ground ball but the Spartans would be unable to make the play for an error, opening the door for the Pride. Josh Montague then doubled to center, scoring both Buchman and Turton for the 9-8 Greensboro lead. Cook would be able to get out of the inning without allowing any addition runs but the damage had been done to the Green and White.
    The Spartans got a single from Connolly to lead off the bottom of the ninth against closer Trevor Marbry but Marbry got out of the inning with the one-run advantage intact as he got his second save of the year.
    Allen earned the win for the Pride as he allowed two unearned runs on three hits in 1.1 innings of work. He walked one and struck out another as he notches his first win of the year. Phetteplace got a no-decision despite pitching well for the Pride. He threw six innings, allowing two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and four walks. Fulcher was tagged for four runs on three hits with a walk in his two-thirds of an inning of work. Marbry allowed one hit in his one inning to earn the save.
    Christenberry allowed seven runs, four earned, in seven innings of work. The junior walked six and struck out three as he needed 116 pitches to navigate through his seven innings of action. Freshman Brandon Ullom (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) made his Spartan debut a successful one as he pitched a perfect eighth inning for the Spartans. Cook suffered the loss as he allowed two runs, one earned, on a hit and a walk while he also had one strikeout.
    Laboy led the Pride offensive attack as he was 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. Tomb had two hits and an RBI while O’Neill chipped in with two hits and a run scored.
    Sophomore Rob Klinck (Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) led the Spartan offense as he was 2-for-5 while Austin was 1-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Monti was 1-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Stanley, Cook, and Meehan each added an RBI for the Spartans.
    York will square off against the host Emory University Eagles at 2:00 pm in the Spartans’ second game of the tournament.


Rob Klinck banged out two hits for the Spartans in Friday's season opener