SALISBURY, MD – Behind an exceptional playoff performance from junior pitcher Jason Christenberry (Yoe, Pa./Dallastown), the York College baseball team rolled to a 12-1 victory over North Carolina Wesleyan in the Spartans’ first game of the NCAA Tournament South Regional. The triumph, which improves York’s record to 28-14 on the season, pushes the Green and White into the winner’s bracket where they will face the winner of Shenandoah and Johns Hopkins Thursday night at 7:45 pm.
Christenberry was nothing short of masterful for the Spartans. The junior standout, a first-team All-CAC selection this season, threw seven scoreless innings scattering four hits and improving his record to 8-3 on the year. Christenberry struck out seven and only surrendered two walks as he faced 25 Battling Bishops.
“I was happy with how I threw today,” Christenberry said. “The offense did a great job of getting me some runs early and that took the pressure off me and made it easy for me to do my job. The guys played really good defense and allowed me to focus on throwing strikes and attacking their hitters.”
That offense would provide the junior with plenty of run support throughout the ballgame. After two scoreless innings, the Green and White jumped out front with three in the top of the third. Right-fielder Joe Doyle (Stewartstown, Pa./Red Lion) opened the frame by reaching on an error, followed by a Jim Meehan (Mastic, N.Y./Eastport-South Manor Central) single up the middle. Second baseman Dustin Worthman (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) laid down a terrific sacrifice bunt, pushing both Doyle and Meehan over one station. Rob Klinck (Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) shot an opposite field double that snuck just inside the right field line, plating York’s opening two scores. Senior all-league performer Ryan Poff (York, Pa./Spring Grove) then added to his program-best career hits total with a stung single into center field as Klinck scooted over to third. One Mike Connolly (Selden, N.Y./Newfield) sacrifice fly later and the Spartans owned an early 3-0 advantage.
York poured it on in the fifth and sixth frames, tallying nine more runs over those two innings. Three came in the top of the fifth as Worthman, Klinck, and Rob Andrews (East Northport, N.Y./Commack) all scored, as each of the three tallies came with two outs.
The Spartans’ sixth resulted in six runs as the Green and White utilized five hits and one Bishop error to reach their 12-run output.
"Offensively, we had very good at-bats that produced a number of two-out hits," Spartan head coach Paul Saikia said. "We had been doing that all season but struggled a bit towards the end of the regular season. We really hit the ball up and down the order and when we get that kind of production, we can put some runs up on the board."
The final three and half innings went by quietly, save for one Bishop score in the bottom of the ninth.
As a team, the Green and White put together 18 hits while sending 43 batters to the plate. Andrews had a quality performance, going 2-for-5 while driving in four runs and scoring two. Poff and Meehan each put in three-hit days as Klinck and Matt Monti (Easton, Pa./Easton) each drove in a pair.
Junior right-hander Chris Frankenfield (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon) came on in the eighth in relief of Christenberry, throwing one complete inning with a strikeout. Sophomore Kyle Cook (Pylesville, Md./North Harford) finished out the Spartans’ victory throwing the ninth for the York side.
N.C. Wesleyan starter Ben Moore is saddled with the loss as he surrendered nine runs, only five of which were earned, over his five-plus innings of work. John Child finished off the game for the Battling Bishops, giving up three run over his four frames.
Justin Rahm posted the best day for the Wesleyan squad, notching a 2-for-3 showing while Justin Tuck went 1-for-4 and drove in the Bishops’ tally.
The Spartans will prepare for their 7:45 pm game tomorrow evening. Live Stats of the contest will be available at http://www.suseagulls.com/ncaa/bbregional09/index courtesy of Salisbury University sports information.
Jason Christenberry photo courtesy of Scott Guise