The Shippensburg University baseball team was not perfect last week, but it sure was close.
The Raiders offense was on full display in its five-game slate, as the squad put itself in playoff position, and secured its first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division series win of the year. The team went 4-1 in this week’s games, with one win over Delaware’s Wilmington University, and three against PSAC East Rival Kutztown. The wins included: A 19-6 game over Wilmington, and, 3-1, 13-7, and 5-4 wins over KU. The lone loss on the week came in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader versus Kutztown, 10-5.
Tuesday, April 12
In the first game of the week, the Raiders made quick work of the Wilmington University Wildcats.
The game was tied through two innings, but Shippensburg’s five-hit, five-run third frame provided all the run support it would need to defeat the Cats. The inning was highlighted by a three-run homerun by Shippensburg’s Mike Marcinko. Also scoring in the inning were Nick Spangler, Ryan McMillen, Tyler Betz and Zack Zoller.
Shippensburg tallied 23 hits in the 19-run affair — it’s most in eight years. Contributing six of those hits was McMillen who tied a single-game school record with his efforts.
Senior Thomas Swartz got his first decision of the season in the win. Swartz pitched four scoreless innings and allowed only two hits in relief for starter Seth LeFever.
Friday, April 15
The Raiders then traveled to Kutztown on Friday to take on the Golden Bears. Shippensburg continued a streak of superb hitting, and swept the first two games of a four-game weekend series by scores of 3-1 and 13-7.
Shippensburg scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning of game one. Cash Gladfelter had a bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the inning; Mike Marcinko contributed an RBI on an infield hit, and Grant Hoover provided a sacrifice fly.
Junior Mark Curtis was credited with the win on the day. Curtis threw a five-strikeout, complete game and allowed just five hits.
In game two of Friday’s doubleheader, Shippensburg exploded for seven first-inning runs. The Raiders added three more runs in the third and seventh innings to stretch it’s total to 13.
Kutztown came to within four runs in the fourth inning, but never any closer.
Senior Thomas Swartz shutout KU over four innings of work en route to his second win of the season.
Austin Allison went 3-for-4 on the day — a nice improvement from a dismal 2-for-25 stretch of at bats.
Saturday, April 16
Shippensburg then came home for games three and four of the weekend series — winning game one in dramatic fashion, 5-4, and dropping game two, 10-5.
Cash Gladfelter came through when it mattered most in the extra innings of game one, as the freshman promptly ended the game with a walk-off double.
Shippensburg trailed Kutztown headed into game one’s final frame, but after a sacrifice bunt, the Raiders were able to work Mike Marcinko into scoring position. With two outs on the board, Ryan McMillen ripped a single through to left field, scoring Marcinko in the process.
The Raiders didn’t waste any time in the eighth. Right after Jake Kennedy walked with one out, the team elected to be aggressive and pinch run for him with Zack Zoller. On the ensuing at bat, Gladfelter finished the game with his double to right-center field.
SU’s other runs all came in the fifth inning of the game. Headed into that inning, the Raiders had yet to get a hit off of KU’s starting pitcher Matt Swarmer. Dalton Hoiles, Kennedy and Marcinko all had the inning’s RBIs.
Senior Kyle McClintock allowed just four runs in his six-inning outing, but it was Marcus Shippey who got the games decision with his two scoreless innings of relief. Shippey is now 4-3 on the year.
All the magic Shippensburg had left seemed to be expended in game one, as the squad failed to complete the weekend sweep of Kutztown — losing 10-5 in game two.
Kutztown scored nine runs in four innings to take a 10-3 lead into the game’s final frame. Shippensburg couldn’t come back, but did score two more times in the bottom of that frame to narrow the Golden Bear lead to five.
Kutztown’s Mike Kammerer brought his record to 2-2 on the year with the win.
Shippensburg’s Cash Gladfelter got on base seven times on the weekend. His homerun and walk-off double made up two of his six hits in the series. Gladfelter is now hitting just below .500 over his last 10 games, racking up 18 hits in the process.
The Raider’s wins were crucial to its playoff positioning, as the team now holds a one-game lead on the Golden Bears for the fourth and final postseason spot in the east. Shippensburg has eight remaining divisional games, with a four-game series versus PSAC East leader Millersville next weekend.
The squad’s next game is today at 3 p.m. at U. of the Sciences.