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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.  (Titan Athletics)– The Westminster College baseball team won, 7-6, over Geneva College following a walk-off single by senior Hunter Alexander (Beaver Falls, PA / Blackhawk) in the bottom of the ninth in a thrilling Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) game at home Wednesday.
“It was a huge win,” said second-year head coach Kelly Swiney.  “Yesterday, we struggled to hit the ball, and we still have a long way to go. We coughed up the lead, but sometimes it is better to get that walk-off win for team momentum. We are 4-2 in PAC play, and we know that if we win two of three games in every conference series, we are going to be in [the PAC] tournament at the end of the year, and that is where we want to be. It was really important that we came out and got a victory today. You do not like to lose that lead at the end of the game, but any time your team gets tested and you win, that is a good thing.”
Geneva (5-11, 0-6) took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, courtesy of a solo home run by Garrison Wieland. Westminster (9-8, 4-2 PAC) quickly tied the game after senior Dante Parente (Beaver Falls, PA / Blackhawk) connected an RBI-single to right field, bringing home Mike Grazier (Austintown, OH / Austintown-Fitch). Freshman Matt Costello (New Castle, PA / Union Area) put the Titans in front, 2-1, in the second with a sacrifice fly. After the Golden Tornadoes tied the game in the top of the third (2-2), the Titans took advantage of a Geneva error in the bottom half of the third and went ahead, 4-2. Parente extended Westminster’s lead in the fourth to 5-2 with an RBI-double. Freshman Sean Davis (Sharpsville, PA / Sharpsville) gave Westminster a 6-2 lead in the seventh with an RBI-single.
Geneva rallied and scored one run in the eighth and three in top of the ninth to knot the game at six.
Westminster junior Jaret Johnson (Niles, OH / Niles McKinley) hit a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth and advanced to second with a steal. Two batters later, Costello got on base as he was hit by a pitch. Freshman Brandon Cooper (Oakdale, PA / West Allegheny) came in to pinch hit and walked to load the bases for the Titans. Alexander battled back from an 0-2 count and connected on walk-off hit to right field, scoring home Johnson for the game-winner.
“Hunter is the heart and soul of the team,” added Swiney. “He is a hard worker who pretty much catches every inning back behind the plate for us. We keep him in there, and we love that guy. It was great to see that senior leadership because we have a lot of freshmen in the lineup every day, and they get a little nervous under pressure. It is good to see him have a quality at-bat. He got behind 0-2 right away, but battled back and got a good swing on it. That was awesome.”
Titan senior Dante Parente (Beaver Falls, PA / Blackhawk) got the no decision starting the game and only allowing three hits and two runs in seven innings of work. He struck out nine and walked three. Parente also led at the plate, tying a season-high with a team-high three hits, to go along with a team-best two RBIs.
Junior Dante Sienko (Wexford, PA / Pine-Richland) got the win (2-1) after pitching an inning and giving up two hits and two runs (one earned). Sienko walked and struck out one.
Westminster will next play at Washington & Jefferson College on Saturday April 6 for a PAC doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.(Quotes courtesy of Titan Radio)


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