The Shippensburg University baseball team finished a busy week on a positive note, sweeping a doubleheader Saturday against the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown after dropping doubleheaders to Shepherd University and UPJ earlier in the week.
SU (7-9) rallied behind dominant performances from its starting pitchers in both of Saturday’s games at Fairchild Field in Shippensburg, winning 5-3 and 10-2.
The story of Game 1 came in the bottom of the seventh when junior Zack Zoller stepped to the plate with SU down 3–2 with two on and one out. The junior smacked a walk-off, three-run homer to left field to give the Raiders a wild victory in the opener.
Zoller had the best game of his Raiders career, carrying the load for SU’s offense all afternoon. The junior went 4-for-4 with that clutch homer and two doubles, finishing just a triple shy of the cycle. Zoller drove in four runs and scored two.
Shippensburg took an early 1–0 lead when senior Tommy Baggett hit an RBI single that scored Zoller. The Raiders extended their lead to 2–0 in the second when Zoller then knocked an RBI double to left.
Pitt-Johnstown tied the score at two with a pair of RBI singles in the third, before taking a 3–2 lead in the sixth on another RBI basehit. UPJ’s lead vanished in the bottom of the seventh on Zoller’s walk-off homer.
Redshirt-sophomore Noah Inch scattered eight hits over six innings in the opener, allowing just two earned runs. He struck out six and walked two in the outing before handing the ball over to freshman Jared Showalter, who finished with a scoreless seventh.
Shippensburg fed off the energy from Game 1 with an inspired offensive effort in Game 2, racking up 10 runs on the Mountain Cats.
SU fell behind 2–0 after four innings, but erupted at the plate in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Sophomore Logan Williamson got the Raiders on the board in the fourth with a two-run double. Shippensburg scored two more runs in the fourth and the fifth on RBI singles from sophomore Chase Zurawski and freshman Anthony Vavaroutsos.
The offense then broke through with a five-run sixth that included an RBI double from Baggett and an RBI triple from Vavaroutsos.
Not to be overshadowed by the bats, senior Michael Hope put together an outstanding outing on the mound. Hope allowed just three hits and one earned run over six innings, striking out a season-high 11 batters.
Friday — the day prior — Shippensburg dropped a doubleheader against the Mountain Cats, this time at Point Stadium in Johnstown. SU fell by scores of 7–4 and 4–3.
The Raiders took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run from Vavaroutsos, but allowed six runs in the middle innings to find themselves trailing 6–1 after the fourth. A sixth-inning solo homer from Baggett, one of his two hits in the game, was not enough to bring the Raiders back.
In Game 2, Shippensburg gave up an error-assisted four-run fourth and failed to put any runs on the board until the seventh. A last-inning rally that included an RBI single from senior Jack Goertzen and an RBI double from Vavaroutsos fell just one run short.
Sophomore Dalton Oates pitched well in Game 2, giving up four runs — all unearned — in six innings of work. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
On Wednesday, Shippensburg lost both games of a doubleheader against Shepherd at Fairfax Baseball Field in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. SU lost by scores of 12–7 and 12–3.
The Raiders fell behind early and could not climb all the way back in Game 1. Williamson was a spark plug on offense, however, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two runs batted in. The sophomore hit a two-run homer in the seventh to bring the Raiders within three.
Showalter was effective in relief, allowing just one earned run in more than three innings of work. He struck out four and walked one.
SU dug itself into a hole early in Game 2, trailing 6–0 after two innings. Sophomore Scout Knotts hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to give the Raiders their first run. They scored two more in the seventh on an RBI single from Zurawski and a sacrifice fly from Zoller.
Junior Kyle Lysy was effective out of the bullpen, allowing one run over three innings and striking out two. Shippensburg has nearly a week off before beginning conference play in its schedule.
The Raiders will host a doubleheader against Kutztown University on Friday afternoon.