Two weekend series and two sweeps into its 2020 campaign, the Shippensburg University baseball team might appear destined for a tough season. But the record doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Raiders sit at 0-6 after two weekends of baseball after suffering a sweep at the hands of NCAA Division II No. 5 Catawba College Saturday and Sunday.
SU got off to a hot start in the opener, opening up a 5-0 lead after three innings. Sophomore Lake Lloyd got the Raiders on the board with a two-run double in the second inning before SU put on a power display in the third.
Sophomore Tony Vavaroutsos hit a two-run homer to center to extend the lead to 4-0, and junior Ben Werkheiser rocked a solo shot to left-center just two pitches later. Two batters later, junior Logan Williamson’s solo homer to left brought the lead to 5-0.
The Raiders’ fireworks fizzled out there, however, as Catawba rattled off nine consecutive runs over the next five innings to take Game 1, 9-6.
Redshirt junior Noah Inch drew the start for SU and was steady, allowing just two earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Raiders fell behind 3-0 early in Game 2, but an RBI single from Lloyd and Vavaroutsos’ second homer of the day brought them to within a run in the sixth inning.
However, in the bottom of the sixth, an untimely error in the field opened the floodgates for a four-run frame that extended Catawba’s lead to 7-2.
Senior Kyle Lysy pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one earned run — but seven runs in total.
Game 3 was one to forget for SU, as it fell behind early and dropped the finale by a score of 12-1.
Werkheiser notched three hits and scored the Raiders’ lone run, while junior Scout Knotts picked up two doubles in the loss.
Despite the grisly record, SU has shown an ability to hang wwith the best of the best in the NCAA D-II baseball landscape. The Raiders battled in close games with fifth-ranked Catawba, just a week after racking up impressive offensive numbers against Stanislaus State — who now sits at 8-1.
With a young team comprised of nearly two-thirds underclassmen, SU has shown promise. Its next test comes Saturday, when it begins a four-game series with Queens College in New Jersey.