Early Offensive Barrage Lifts Allegheny Over #23 Mount Union

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MEADVILLE, Pa. - The Gators scored nine runs over the first three innings and never looked back, defeating #23 Mount Union 11-4 at a sun-splashed Robertson Athletic Complex.

Cullen Flaherty had three hits, including a two-run home run and a double, and drove in a career-high five RBIs while Ethan Pawlak and Andrew Dawson also added three hits apiece.  The Gators (21-11) out-hit the Purple Raiders (25-8) 13-10 in the victory, while Allegheny starter Joe Nagel brushed off a shaky first inning to throw five strong frames and improve to 2-2 on the year.

Mount Union looked poised to break the game open early, loading the bases with three straight singles in the top of the first. After Nagel retired cleanup man Joey Keleman on a foul pop, the Raiders took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly from Jimmy Scott.  Nagel would limit the damage, however, escaping the frame with an inning-ending strikeout.

The Gators quickly bounced back in the bottom of the second. Flaherty was hit with a pitch to lead off the inning, before Jacob Shick and Robert DiMaggio drew one-out walks to load the bases. Pawlak came through with his first hit of the day, a line drive through the hole in the left side, bringing home Shick and DiMaggio, before Tyler Wagner gave the hosts a 3-1 lead on an RBI groundout to the right side.

Nagel navigated a scoreless top of the second, and the Gators went back to work. Vincent Carone drew a four-pitch walk to open the inning, and two batters later, Flaherty smacked his first long ball of the season down the line in right field to extend the lead to 5-1. Dawson would follow with a single, and after stealing second base, scored an unearned run on a dropped fly ball in shallow right field to push the advantage to 6-1.

The Gators added yet another three spot in the bottom of the third. Wagner opened the frame by reaching on an error, before Carone singled and Austin Bristol drew a walk to load the bags.  Flaherty came up big yet again, clearing the bases with a three-run double to the right field corner to give the Gators a healthy 9-1 lead.

The Raiders used a walk, stolen base, wild pitch, and RBI groundout to score once in the fifth, and the score remained 9-2 until the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Shea Beaumont walked, and moved to third on Patrick Orr's double down the right field line. Carone then dumped a single into left field to plate Beaumont with the Gators' 10th run of the game.

In a lengthy top of the eighth, Mount Union sent eight men to the plate, and scored two runs on three hits and a walk, but the Gators would score the game'f inal run in the bottom of the inning, as Flaherty opened the inning with a single, and eventually scored the Gators' 11th run on a DiMaggio sacrifice fly.

In the ninth, Gator reliever Cy Perry allowed a one-out single, but promptly closed out the victory with a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play to end the game.

Five players accounted for the Gators' 13 hits, as the aformntioned three-hit trio of Flaherty, Dawson, and Pawlak was joined by the tandem of Orr and Carone, who each went 2-for-3.

Nagel worked the first five innings and was credited with the win after allowing two runs on six hits while striking out three.

Noah Skladen started and took the loss for the Purple Raiders, allowing four runs (three earned) on one hit and three walks. Scott, Nate Owen, and Conner Koski each had two hits in the loss.

The Gators will now prep for their final North Coast Athletic Conference divisional series of the season, as they will play a four-game set at Oberlin with 12 p.m. doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday. The Gators enter the set one game behind the Yeomen in the NCAC East standings, and must win three of four in order to play the regular-season ending NCAC Crossover Series at the friendly confines of the Robertson Athletic Complex on May 5-6.