E8 CHAMPS!! No.25 Ithaca Defeats St. John Fisher, 8-5, For Eighth Straight Title

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ITHACA, N.Y. – For the eighth consecutive season, the No. 25 Ithaca College baseball team can call themselves Empire 8 Conference champions as the Bombers took down St. John Fisher, 8-5, on Saturday afternoon at Cornell's Hoy Field. Ithaca has won all five E8 Tournaments since the conference began sponsoring a postseason championship and now have won 17 of the last 19 Empire 8 titles. IC also extends its winning streak to 12 straight games and will find out on Monday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. during the NCAA Selection Show where it will play next as part of the Division III Championship.

At the conclusion of the game, senior Adam Gallagher was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after he went 2-for-4 with two solo home runs and two runs scored. His first homer broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the third inning, and the second gave IC a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

The Bombers made a statement early in the game as senior Matt Carey crushed a one-out grand slam to left field in the bottom of the second inning to give IC a 4-0 lead. The inning started with a walk to senior Sam Little and then junior Buzz Shirley beat out an infield single. Senior Cam Fuoti then drew a free pass to load the bases to set up the round-tripper for Carey.

Sophomore Jack Lynch followed with a walk to knock Fisher starter Jim Dawson out of the game after just 1.1 innings pitched.

Fisher erased the four-run deficit in the top of the third with five hits to knot the game at 4-4. The Cardinals began the frame with back-to-back singles and then both runners move into scoring position on a wild pitch. Graduate student Tyler Hill would retire the next two batters on groundouts, but Fisher kept the inning alive with a two-run single to center from Thomas Pasquale, which ended Ithaca's scoreless innings pitched streak in the tournament at 20.2.

Allen Murphy then drove a single to center and Antony Mantova followed with a towering two-run double off the left field fence to tie the game.

Ithaca would answer the comeback attempt in the bottom half of the third as Gallagher drilled a lead-off solo homer to left to make the score 5-4. After a pair of groundouts, Fuoti ripped a double down the left field line and scored on a base hit from sophomore Garrett Callaghan to put IC up, 6-4. The Bombers continued to threaten in the inning by loading the bases on a hit by pitch and walk, but IC was unable to get another run in.

In the top of the sixth and seventh innings, Fisher continued to put runners on base, but the Bomber defense and Hill were up to the task as they rolled two double plays to keep the lead at 6-4.

The Bombers tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth on a lead-off solo shot by Gallagher and then a single to right by Fuoti to bring in S. Little to make the score 8-4.

Fisher did not go down without a fight, however, as the Cardinals loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with a base hit, error and hit by pitch within five pitches. The Cardinals then pushed a run home on a single to center by Beimeil, but senior Matt Eiel secured the win with a strikeout and fielder's choice to third.

Eiel picked up his third save of the season in two innings of relief with a strikeout. Hill moved to 7-0 on the season with a seven-inning outing with a strikeout and four runs allowed on seven hits.

Ithaca pounded out 13 hits in the win. Callaghan was 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Shirley, Fuoti and Carey all had two hits.

The Bombers will be making their 48th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament next week and will find out who, when and where they play next at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. A link to the Selection Show will be shared on the @BomberSports Facebook and Twitter accounts prior to the show.