OLD ORCHARD BEACH, MAINE -- Andrew Yonta and Chris Perry had two-run hits to lead the third-seeded Apprentice School to a 6-2 victory over second-seeded Briarcliffe College in the 2011 USCAA National Championships on Monday at The Ballpark.
The Builders jumped on starter Rich Ireland for three runs in the first inning as with one out a pair of walks to Chris Aldridge and Ryan Wagner along with an error loaded the bases. A wild pitch plated Aldridge before Yonta ripped a double to right-center to score Wagner and Corey Gallaway for a 3-0 lead.
Briarcliffe, the defending USCAA National Champions, scored a pair of runs in the second inning as with one out Dave Darcy singled and advanced on a failed pickoff throw. Chris Ahearn followed with a single to center to score Darcy. Ahearn stole second and advanced to third on an infield single by Eric Wiener before scoring on a single by Chris McCabe to cut the lead down to 3-2.
In the fourth, the Builders scored a run on as David Sebera reached on an error that plated Yonta who walked and took second on a sacrifice. The next inning the Builders scored a pair as Josh Tuck started the inning with a single and Aldridge followed with another single. Following a groundout, Yonta was intentionally walked to set up Perry's two-run double to right center.
Chad Gurganus threw 5.2 innings to earn the win for Apprentice School allowing six hits and striking out three. Coire Barnitz closed the game throwing the last 1.1 innings allowing a hit and a strikeout. Five Builders had a hit each as they were outhit 7-5.
Wiener and Joseph Solomeno had two hits each to lead Briarcliffe. Ireland took the loss with a complete game allowing five hits and striking out six.
Apprentice School now faces top-seeded Southern Virginia at 4 pm on Tuesday for the right to make the championship game of the USCAA Tournament.