The Shippensburg University Baseball team split a double header with the West Chester University Golden Rams with a win in Game 1, 7–1 and a 4–3 loss in Game 2.
In the first of two games against the Golden Rams, the Raiders picked up a win with strong hitting.
The first two runs for the Raiders came with the bases loaded from a Mike Marcinko walk and a fielder’s choice off the bat of Michael Douglas.
In the third inning, the SU showed its power at the plate with a Cody Ezolt home run that gave the Raiders a 3–1 lead. After the home run, the Raiders continued to pound the ball against WCU.
Matt Osenbach led off the fourth inning with a double to left-center. Douglas advanced Osenbach to third with a single to center field and Jimmy Spanos picked up the RBI with a single up the middle. During an attempted intentional walk to Ezolt, a wild pitch allowed Douglas to score, increasing the Raiders’ lead to 5–1.
SU continued the offensive surge in the fifth inning with a leadoff single by Cal Hogan. Hogan quickly stole second base and Austin Allison hit an RBI triple to deep center field. The Raiders extended the lead to 7–1 after a sacrifice fly from Marcinko.
The seven runs from the Raiders’ offense would be plenty for SU’s pitchers. A combined effort from Mark Curtis, Josh Kutchey and Thomas Swartz kept the Golden Rams from bouncing back in the game.
Curtis pitched the first five innings, giving up one run on three hits and picked up three strikeouts. Kutchey and Swartz combined for one hit and no runs to close out the game, giving the Raiders the win in the first game.
Game 2 between the PSAC rivals was much closer than the first, but the Golden Rams ultimately won Game 2 and split the double header on Saturday.
SU put two runs on the board early in the game when Marcinko hit a two-run RBI single to center field, giving the Raiders a 2–0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Rich Michaud started the game on the hill for the Raiders and cruised through the first three innings, preserving the early lead, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning.
WCU brought across three runs on five hits in the fourth and chased Michaud from the game after recording one out in the inning. Three more SU pitchers were brought in to calm the fourth inning surge and lock down the rest of the game — and did so successfully — allowing only one run in relief of their starter.
The Golden Rams had a 3–2 lead entering the fourth inning, when the Raiders tied the score thanks to Spanos’ sacrifice fly to left field, bringing in Allison who singled to lead off the inning. Unfortunately, WCU answered back to take the lead in the next inning, a lead that the Rams never relased.
WCU capitalized on a triple with one out in the fifth. Douglas laid out for a diving attempt, but the ball ended up reaching the fence and gave the Golden Rams a golden opportunity to take the lead.
A bunt single by WCU third baseman Chris Pula brought in the go-ahead, game-winning run.
SU was unable to put together a string of hits and mount a comeback. Hogan’s single in the fifth was the last hit recorded for the Raiders.
The split on Saturday brings the Raiders’ record to 24–16 overall and 11–13 in the PSAC.
The next game will be on Monday where the Raiders will play a double header at home against Wilmington University. This will be the first time the Raiders match up against the Wildcats this season.
After Monday’s game, the Raiders will stay at home for one more series to play Lock Haven University and will travel to Lock Haven the following day to close out the regular season. Both days will be double header match ups, and the Raiders will look to pick up crucial wins in the PSAC East.
The Raiders currently sit at No. 5 in the division while LHU is in last. A sweep of the weekend series against the Bald Eagles would bring the Raiders’ PSAC record above .500 and could prove to be a big momentum boost heading into the PSAC tournament.