wjbaseball

Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter

Washington & Jefferson’s Ben Marsico delivers a pitch against Bethany during the PAC tournament Thursday at Ross Memorial Park in Washington.

The Washington & Jefferson College baseball team will travel to Misericordia University for the NCAA Division III Super Regional series, which will take place today and Saturday at Tambur Field in Dallas, Pa.

The Presidents enter the series with a 35-11 overall record, and a 6-0 mark in the postseason. After starting the year 3-7, the Presidents have won 32 of their last 36 games. W&J clinched it’s 12th Presidents’ Athletics Conference title with an 8-1 win over Bethany on May 11.

The Presidents advanced to the Super Regionals after beating three ranked opponents to put away the Salisbury Regional Championship last weekend. W&J opened regional play with a 4-1 win over No. 10 Salisbury University on Friday before adding a pair of wins over 11th-ranked Rowan University. The Presidents topped the Profs 2-0 on Saturday, and won 6-5 victory in a rematch the next day in the championship round. With a pair of wins over the Cougars, W&J would earn its second trip to the Division III College World Series, the first being in 2017.

The PAC champs boasted nine all-conference selections. Junior pitcher Ben Marsico, who was named PAC Pitcher of the Year and earned All-PAC First Team honors. Marsico is tied for fourth in Division III in wins with an 11-1 record, and has a 3.17 ERA. His 11 wins this season are tied for the second most in a single-season in school history.

Senior infielder Mullen Socha and senior outfielder Dante Dalesandro pace the W&J offense. Socha leads the PAC with 49 runs and ranks in the top five in the conference in several categories, including doubles (16), home runs (8), and RBI (46). Dalesandro has compiled a .368 batting average with 41 RBI, 48 runs and 17 extra base hits.

Josh Crummer and James Artale are fixtures in the middle of the order for the Presidents. Crummer hit .350 with 34 RBI, and lead the PAC in doubles with 18. Artale was one behind Socha for the team lead in home runs, and has added 42 RBI.

The bullpen is led by seniors Mitchell Taufer and Clay Martin. Taufer has tied the school record with 10 saves, and has compiled a 0.91 earned run average with 39 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. Martin pitched a scoreless ninth in each of W&J’s wins last week at the Salisbury Regional.

Head coach Jeff Mountain was named PAC Coach of the Year for the eighth time in 17 seasons at W&J. Mountain owns a 490-258 career record. The W&J senior class is an impressive 23-8 record in postseason play.

Misericordia, like the Presidents, is 35-11. The Cougars swept top-ranked Christopher Newport in a best-of-five series last weekend. Misericordia is playing in its ninth straight NCAA Tournament and is seeking a second consecutive trip to the D-III College World Series. The Cougars are led by All-MAC Freedom Player of the Year Kenny Jarema and Pitcher of the Year Ian McCole.

Jarema leads the MAC Freedom in batting (.446), on-base% (.580), hits (66) and runs (58). After winning two games to earn MVP honors at the MAC Freedom Tournament, McCole set a new school single-season record with his 11th win in the opener at Christopher Newport. He has a 2.16 ERA with 61 strikeouts and is currently tied with Marsico for fourth in the nation in wins.

The eight super regional winners will qualify for the College World Series. The pool play double-elimination championship will be held at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, May 31 through June 5.

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