Fri June 1, 2012
By Dylan Hefflinger
COLUMBUS- In a battle of the top two teams in Division I the No. 2 ranked Cincinnati Moeller Crusaders came out on top with a 3-2 victory over No. 1 Grove City.
Moeller scored three in the 2nd inning. Furman recruit Jordan Simpson led-off the inning with a single, moving up to second on a walk to Wright State University commit Brad Macciocchi. Simpson and Macciocchi moved up a base on a wild pitch. With one out junior catcher Cameron Whitehead scored Simpson on a sacrifice fly. Sophomore Riley Mahan scored Macciocchi on an RBI single to right, and was driven in on an RBI single by Ohio University recruit Ty Amann to put Moeller on top 3-0.
Three runs is all starter Brian Burkhart needed as the righty threw another gem limiting Grove City to just two runs, scattering nine hits over six innings of work. The unsigned senior struck out six while walking just two. Burkhart's fastball sat in the low 80s topping out at 85.
Grove City scored a run in the 3rd. Three-hole hitter Drew Nankivell had a two-out single and scored on a Mitchell Stephens single to left that Brandon Gooch, who reached on a single, got thrown out at home by Ohio State University commit Zack Shannon. The Greyhounds cut the deficit to 3-1.
In the 6th Stephens drew a one-out walk, but was thrown out trying to steal. With two-outs Drew Artrip blasted a double to left and scored on an RBI by pinch hitter, sophomore Ben Myers. With the Greyhounds down 3-2 with runners on first and second Burkhart recorded his sixth strikeout.
Relief pitcher Phillip Diehl came in relief to record the save, striking out the final batter of the game moving Moeller onto the state finals. Diehl, an Evansville University recruit topped out at 86 mph, featuring a low 70s curve from the left side.
Moeller (25-5) moves on to face No. 21 Westlake (24-6) in the state finals, looking to capture its sixth state championship in school history. The game will be on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Grove City bows out of the tournament in the state semis for the second consecutive year. The Greyhounds finished with a 25-3 record.