|Widener advances to the NCAA
Tournament for the seventh time and first since
Widener athletics photo
Widener captured the Commonwealth Conference title with 3-2
victory over Alvernia in York, PA, getting a walk-off infield
single from senior Michael Riverso (Philadelphia, PA) in the bottom
of the ninth inning.
The hit from Riverso, the conference Player of the Year who also was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, helped lead Widener (31-11) to its second Commonwealth Conference title and eighth league championship when including its six from the Middle Atlantic Conference.
Sophomore pitcher Joe Santone (Blackwood, NJ) went nine innings to improve to 6-3 on the year, striking out three batters and allowing only one earned run for the Pride.
Alvernia (27-13) struck first on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly in the third inning that scored Joe IacoBellis from third base.
Widener came from behind for the third game in a row to score one run in the fourth and one more in the fifth. Freshman right fielder Greg McDonough (Ambler, PA) doubled down the left-field line that scored Riverso from third base. McDonough finished 2-of-4 with an RBI on the day.
Conference Rookie of the Year Michael Elfreth (Washington Twp, NJ) followed in the fifth inning with an RBI single that flew over top of the first-base bag. Senior center fielder Sam Christie (Upper Darby, PA) rounded third and came in to score on the play.
The Crusaders tied the score in the seventh when Chris Gehris scored on a throwing error from the Widener infield.
After two scoreless innings, Christie led off the bottom of the ninth with a single down the left-field line. Following a groundout, Elfreth and first team all-conference freshman Bob Barnett (Glenolden, PA) both were hit by a pitch to load the bases with only one out and send the most dominating hitter in the conference to the plate. Riverso did not disappoint with an infield single to bring home Christie and claim the conference title. Riverso finished 3-of-4 on the day and batted .455 (5-for-11) for the week.
Widener advances to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time and first since 2010. The regional bracket will be announced on May 12 on NCAA.com.