Instead of opening its season with an early-February series in North Carolina as it has in years past, the Shippensburg University baseball team kicked off its 2020 campaign with a three-game set against Stanislaus State University in Turlock, California.
The Raiders struggled to contain the high-powered Warrior offense, dropping all three games to undefeated Stanislaus State by scores of 10-6, 7-2 and 9-4.
“We looked for a new opportunity for our program,” coach Matt Jones said. “We haven’t played out here before, we have guys who have never been to California, and we have guys who haven’t flown. So we wanted to give them a new opportunity.”
Reigning Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division Freshman of the Year Tony Vavaroutsos led the Raiders with six hits in the series. The sophomore outfielder drove in four runs and scored two on the weekend.
Junior Ben Werkheiser — a transfer from the University of Delaware — impressed in his first action with SU. The catcher hit three doubles and tallied three RBIs in his debut series.
Although the pitching staff struggled as a whole against Stanislaus State, senior Kyle Lysy had one of the best outings of his career in the Raiders’ 8-2 loss.
Lysy went a career-high five innings, allowing just two earned runs on six hits. He struck out five and walked just one.
Freshman Austin Labarre contributed three solid innings in relief in Game 3, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out four.
With a cross-country road trip under their belt, the Raiders will travel to North Carolina this weekend for a three-game set against Catawba College. First pitch of Game 1 is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.