E8 CHAMPS!! Ithaca Tops No. 14 St. John Fisher, 10-6, to Earn NCAA Bid

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. – The Ithaca College baseball team punched its ticket to the NCAA Division III Championship on Saturday with a 10-6 victory over host and No. 14 St. John Fisher College, 10-6, at Dugan Yard in the Empire 8 Conference final. Ithaca, which is now 28-11, earns the conference's first-ever automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and will find out who and where it will play late Sunday night.  It is also the Bombers' sixth straight conference title and the third consecutive season that IC has won the E8 tournament.

As part of the awards presentation, senior Ryan Henchey was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Henchey went 4-for-11 with three RBI, three runs scored and a game-winner double against Elmira on Thursday.

The Bombers erupted for six runs as they produced four hits and capitalized on four Fisher errors in the bottom of the second inning. Henchey led off with a single and scored on a double by sophomore Andrew Bailey for the first run of the game. Bailey would score during the next at bat as sophomore Adam Gallagher singled and then advanced on an error. A dropped fly ball by the Cardinals allowed the third run to come home. Two walks ensued for Ithaca between a pitching change to load the bases. Sophomore Sam Little stepped to the plate next and cleared the bases with a triple to left field to give the Bombers a 6-0 cushion.

Fisher got on the board in the top of the sixth inning with a two-run home run to left by Scott Eisenmenger to trim Ithaca's lead down to 6-2. The Cardinals then stroked another two-run homer in the seventh to make the score 6-4 in favor of IC.

Ithaca pushed its lead back out to six runs, 10-4, in the bottom of the seventh with four runs on four hits. After an RBI single by Gallagher and a sacrifice fly from senior Josh Savacool plated two runs, sophomore Webb Little stroked a two-run double to left, which brought in junior Domenic Boresta and sophomore Matt Carey.

The Cardinals attempted to mount a comeback with two more runs in the eighth on back-to-back doubles and an RBI fielder's choice, but that was as close as they could get.

Fisher placed one runner on in the ninth, but junior Robby Buffis induced a double play and followed up with another ground out to punch Ithaca's ticket to the NCAA Division III Championship.

Gallagher went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored to pace the offense, while Henchey and Bailey each added two hits apiece. S. Little drove in three runs, while W. Little had two RBI.

Bailey earned his fourth win of the season for the Bombers in 6.0 innings pitched. He scattered four hits and allowed two runs with a strikeout.  Junior Jack Morello tossed an inning in relief and surrendered four runs on three hits, while junior Robby Buffis fired the final two innings and gave up just one hit.

Ithaca will make its 46th appearance in the NCAA Championship dating back to 1955, and first since 2013.