Swarthmore wins first CC title

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SWARTHMORE, Pa.--Swarthmore College Baseball won its first ever Centennial Conference Championship on Sunday, defeating Johns Hopkins University 4-3 in 11 innings.

The Garnet (32-9 overall) hadn't made a conference playoff appearance since 2010. That year they went 1-2 in the tournament. This year they won all three games the played.

Two of Swarthmore's wins in this year's playoffs were over the Blue Jays, a team the Garnet hadn't beaten since 2011. They beat them three times this season in four chances.

Sunday's championship was the definition of a pitchers dual. Swarthmore sophomore Ryan Warm started for the Garnet and pitched 10 innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out four. Senior Alex Ross started for Hopkins and pitched eight one-run innings while striking out 13 batters. No pitcher had struck out that many Garnet hitters in a game all season.

No one scored until the fifth inning, during which Hopkins plated two runners. One scored on a sacrifice fly and the other on a single.

Swarthmore was held scoreless until the ninth inning. It started with a single by junior Cole Beeker, who finished the game 4-for-4 with a walk on his way to being named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. At that point, Hopkins elected to remove Ross from the game for a relief pitcher. Junior Jackson Roberts was the first batter he faced, and Roberts doubled. Junior Conor Elliott was up next, and he hit the game-tying two-run single. The Garnet would load the bases with no outs but failed to score, forcing the game to extra innings.

Warm allowed a home run to the first batter in the inning. In the bottom of the 10th, sophomore AJ Liu and Beeker singled. Sophomore Holden Bridge tied the game with a sacrifice fly.

Junior Ricky Conti came on to pitch in the 11th inning and retired all three batters he faced. In the bottom of the inning, sophomore Jared Gillen led off with a double and advanced to third after a pickoff attempt in which the ball rolled to centerfield. Hopkins intentionally walked the next two batters, and sophomore Sam Jacobson scored Gillen on a sacrifice fly to secure the title of Swarthmore.

Each team had 10 hits in the game, and there was only one error.

Conti earned his 10th win of the season, breaking Swarthmore's single-season record that was set by Joe D'Angelo in 1985.
Swarthmore's 32 wins are the most in program history, five more than the record set in 1985. And the Garnet still have more baseball to play in 2018.

The Garnet, who earned an automatic NCAA Playoff bid by winning the tournament, will await the NCAA Division III Baseball Playoffs Selection Show set to happen on May 14 to find out who they'll play.