Alfred State used a four-run eighth inning to propel them to a 4-3 victory over Mercyhurst North East in a first round Western New York Athletic Conference contest.
Neither team could put anything on the scoreboard for the first seven and half innings. Pioneer pitcher Aarol Elliott (Whitesville) and Saints pitchers Michael Jackson and TJ Tavender traded shutout innings.
In the bottom of the 8th the Pioneers got the offense going versus the Saints reliever TJ Tavender. With two outs Adalberto Vargas (Norman Thomas) singled. Vargas moved to second on a single by Karl Kofmel (Ottawa, ONT.). Jeff Paul (Horseheads) collected two RBI with a pinch hit double down the right field line. After a walk to Rueben Angeles (George Washington) pinch runner Matt Lannon (Newark) came around to score on a RBI single by Bryan Lance (Chenango Forks). Lance and Angeles executed a double steal to plate the Pioneers fourth run of the inning.
In the 9th, the Saints put a rally together. James Drolet collected an RBI single and Danny Sciuva doubled home two runs to cut the lead to 4-3 with two outs. With Sciuva at 2nd and Josh Furry at 3rd, Elliott induced a fly out to centerfield to end the game.
Elliott tossed a complete game eight hitter, four hits coming in the 9th, to earn the victory. He struck out six and walked just one. Jackson went scoreless innings for Mercyhurst while Tavender took the loss after allowing four runs in 1.2 innings of work.
Lance and Kevin Underhill (Somers) were each 3 for 4 on the day for the Pioneers while Bruno Saraceno was 2 for 3. Drolet was the lone Saint with multiple hits.
With the win the Pioneers advance to the Final Four and will take on the winner of the #2 Genesee CC/#7 Jamestown CC contest that was rained out on Tuesday. A-State, 10-5, 9-4 WNYAC, will play at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning at Genesee CC. The winners of the two semifinal match-ups will meet at 3 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia.