Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter

Washington & Jefferson’s Mullen Socha had the big hit in an 8-3 win over Miseracordia Friday inn an NCAA Division III Super Regional game.

DALLAS – A five-run eighth inning broke open a tied game as the Washington & Jefferson College baseball team earned an 8-3 victory over Misericordia University in Game 1 of the NCAA Division III South Super Regional Championship series at Tambur Field in Dallas, Pa.

The win is the eighth straight for the Presidents, who improved to 36-11 overall. The Cougars fell to 35-12.

Game two and a potential if-necessary Game 3 will take place today at Tambur Field. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. The if-necessary Game 3 would take place around 40 minutes following the conclusion of Game 2.

With the game tied 3-3 in the eighth, the Cougars brought on First Team All-Region pitcher Kyle Melahn. The senior opened the eighth by hitting three consecutive Presidents with pitches to load the bases. An error then allowed James Artale to race home to give W&J a 4-3 lead. After Misericordia recorded a force out at the plate, a wild pitch scored Joey Bolick to make the score 5-3. With first base open and two outs, Misericorida elected to intentionally walk Dante Dalesandro to load the bases.

Mullen Socha then came through with the biggest hit of the day, a bases clearing double to center field that gave the Presidents a comfortable 8-3 advantage entering the ninth inning. Mitch Taufer got the final three outs to secure the victory.

Socha and Artale paced a nine-hit attack for W&J with two hits each.

After a scoreless first inning, the Presidents got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second inning. Artale opened with a single to right field before moving to third base on a one-out double by Bolick. Spencer Howell brought home Artale with a sacrifice fly to right field to give W&J a 1-0 lead.

The Presidents added to their advantage with two runs on four hits in the bottom of the third inning. Shayne Erny sent the first pitch back up the middle for a single. After a strikeout, Socha doubled down the left field line to put a pair of runners into scoring position.

Josh Crummer and Artale drilled back-to-back RBI singles to push the W&J lead to 3-0.

In the top of the fifth inning, Misericordia broke through with two runs on three hits to cut the Presidents lead to 3-2. The host Cougars then opened the sixth inning with three straight hits, including a pair of doubles to tie the game. A successful relay from right field, which included a strike to the plate by shortstop Spencer Howell allowed W&J to keep the game at 3-3.

Taufer tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth to preserve the 3-3 tie entering the bottom of the eighth.

Ben Marsico started and pitched 5 1/3 innings. The junior right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits. Ian McCole, the starter for Misericordia allowed three earned runs on eight hits in seven innings. Marsico and McCole entered Friday’s game ranked in a tie for fourth place in Division III in victories (11).

Michael Zito retired a pair of Cougar hitters out of the bullpen to finish the sixth inning. Taufer worked the final three innings to pick up the victory. The senior allowed just one hit and struck out three as he improved to 3-0.

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