Anytime the Shippensburg University baseball team takes on Millersville University, it is almost a guarantee the Marauders will refuse to go quietly.
And Tuesday’s doubleheader on the road was no exception of that, as SU (12-10, 10-8 PSAC East) fell in both seven-inning contests by scores of 8-0 and 4-3. It also marked the first time in a month the Raiders were handed back-to-back losses. The last occurrence marked against East Stroudsburg University.
Game 1 was all MU, as the Marauders (12-6, 9-4 PSAC East) pacified SU both on the bump and at the plate. Graduate Kyle Lysy (3-3) saw his shortest outing of the season, working a trio of innings. Across the three frames, MU tagged Lysy for four runs (one earned) and four hits. He fanned five in the process and garnered the loss.
The Raider bullpen did not provide much relief either with sophomore Noah Nabholz, freshman Jackson LoBianco and freshman Ethan Miller conceding a combined four runs over the remaining three innings. Additionally, the Raider infield struggled defensively as four errors found their way to the box score.
At the dish, freshman Andrew Chronister accounted for three of the four SU hits, sporting a 3-for-3 line. All three knocks counted as singles. Behind Chronister, sophomore Justin Darden tallied the other lone hit, also a single.
The Marauders scored in five of the seven innings to capture the shutout victory. Conor Cook tossed a four-hit complete game. He also struck out eight Raiders.
The Raiders turned the tide in Game 2 but they were unable to piece together a complete seven innings. Heading into the bottom of the seventh, SU clung to a 3-1 lead. That lead diminished quickly as freshman Austen Labarre was teed off for three earned runs, the Marauders’ comeback coming nearly full circle.
Nabholz returned to the rubber to stop the bleeding; however, MU used a wild pitch to win in walk-off fashion.
Prior to Labarre’s entrance, redshirt-sophomore Kiernan Higgins continued his string of impressive starts. This time around, Higgins worked six innings, scattered four hits and whiffed six Marauders. MU’s only success against Higgins came on a fourth-frame solo shot.
In the batter’s box, the Raiders bested their Game 1 effort, plating three runs on six knocks. Redshirt-freshman Justin Byler notched the first SU RBI of the day, a second-inning RBI single. The Raiders would scratch across a pair of runs in the fourth with freshman Joe Barbera — making his first start in a month — bringing in Byler on an RBI two-bagger.
Barbera would eventually touch all four bags, scoring on an error after LoBianco reached first via a fielder’s choice. Barbera’s two doubles in Game 2 accounted for SU’s only extra-base hits in the twin bill.
As if two onerous losses were not enough, the Raiders return to action Tuesday, once again squaring off with MU. The week-long gap in matchups comes as a result of a schedule change earlier in the season when the teams’ original four-game home-and-home series was postponed due to coronavirus concerns. SU will host the Marauders at Fairchild Field with first pitches slated for 1 and 3:30 p.m.