PHILADELPHIA – University of Dayton baseball clinched a share of the 2012 Atlantic 10 Regular Season title with a 5-2 win over La Salle on Saturday afternoon at Hank DeVincent Field in the last game of the regular season.
Dayton (28-28, 17-7 A-10) finished league play with six consecutive wins to capture its second Atlantic 10 regular season title. The Flyers share the regular season title with Saint Louis (17-7) and will be the No. 2 seed in the A-10 Championship next week in New York.
Junior right-handed pitcher Parker Schrage (3-6) threw his first career complete game to receive the win on the mound. Schrage allowed just two runs, struck out one and retired 15 batters on fly-outs.
Seniors Brian Blasik and Josh Jeffery each hit homeruns to account for three of UD’s five RBI. Blasik finished the day 3-for-5 with three hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.
The Flyers took an early 2-0 go-ahead lead in the second inning on four hits. Singles to left field from freshman A.J. Ryan and senior Zach Stewart led off the inning. Sophomore Robby Sunderman delivered with runners in scoring position by hitting another single into left field to drive in Ryan. With two outs, Blasik beat out a throw to register an infield single and drive in Stewart to put UD up 2-0.
Jeffery hit his second homerun of the season in the fourth inning. After junior Jared Broughton reached base on a single, Jeffery cleared the bases to put the Flyers on top 4-0.
La Salle answered with one run in the fourth and fifth innings to cut Dayton’s deficit in half, 4-2. But UD’s Schrage kept pitching into timely outs to leave a total of 10 Explorers on base, including a bases-loaded threat in the bottom of the fifth.
Blasik added to Dayton’s lead by leading off the seventh inning with a homerun, giving the Flyers a 5-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the ninth, Schrage faced four batters to cap off his first career complete-game. The last out was a fielder’s choice grounder to third base, in which third baseman Robby Sunderman threw out the lead runner at second base.
La Salle (20-33, 7-17) was led by right fielder Brenden Norton who went 2-for-3 with two walks, and left fielder Marc Schoch’s 2-for-4 day at the plate. Right-handed starting pitcher Kevin Christy (2-5) received the loss on the mound.
The Atlantic 10 Championship will begin on Wednesday in New York, hosted by Fordham. As the No. 2 seed, the Flyers will have a first-round bye and begin tournament play on Thursday against the winner of No. 3 seed Rhode Island (16-8) and No. 6 seed Saint Joseph’s (13-10).
Notes • With Saturday’s win, Dayton finishes 17-7 in conference play to share the Atlantic 10 regular season title with Saint Louis.
• The Flyers will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s Atlantic 10 Championship in New York, hosted by Fordham. With a first-round bye, UD will begin tournament play on Thursday against the winner of No. 3 seed Rhode Island (16-8) and No. 6 seed Saint Joseph’s (13-10). Saint Louis owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Flyers and will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
• It is Dayton’s second A-10 regular season title. The last was in 2009 when UD won a program-record 38 games to win its first league title in program history.
• Dayton swept three A-10 series this season, including two consecutive over UMass and La Salle to end the regular season. The Flyers became the first A-10 team to sweep Charlotte in Charlotte on April 6-8.
• After starting the season 2-9, the Flyers finish the regular season with a .500 record (28-28).
• Dayton is 26-16 during weekend games this season.
• Saturday’s series finale was the last game of the regular season. The Flyers played a full 56-game schedule – the maximum allowed by NCAA regulations.
• Shortstop Brian Blasik’s RBI infield single in the second inning extended his hitting streak to 14 games – tying his longest hitting streak of the season.