The Shippensburg University baseball team's attempt to extend their winning streak to five games was tested early on Friday.
In a doubleheader against Thomas Jefferson University (7-4), the Raiders found themselves down a quick 2-0 in Game 1, brought on by two errors in the infield. However, like he has done most of the season, SU graduate Kyle Lysy (2-2) recomposed himself on the bump after the up-and-down opening-inning, working his way to a complete game and propelling the Raiders to the fifth straight victory by a score of 4-2.
And Game 1 Friday was just the gateway to a run-heavy Game 2, which SU won handily 14-0, stretching its winning ways to six straight.
Lysy’s Game 1 outing served as his first complete game of the 2021 campaign. In addition to the seven frames, Lysy scattered three hits, walked one and struck out eight. He did not garner an earned run.
Behind Lysy, the Raiders (9-7, 7-5 PSAC East) did not find the scoreboard until the top of the fourth inning. Sophomore Justin Darden contributed the first RBI on a double, plating graduate Jordan Yoder.
The remainder of the SU scoring came in the fifth, with junior Chase Zurawski — coming off an impressive week of a 6-for-13 line, including seven RBIs and four extra-base hits — scratching across freshman Andrew Chronister on a single. Yoder followed suit, plating fellow graduate JuJu Cason and giving SU its first lead. Zurawski accounted for the final run, dashing home on a wild pitch, ending the contest at 4-2.
The Raiders strong pitching continued into Game 2, with redshirt-sophomore Kiernan Higgins (2-3) on the rubber. Higgins earned Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East Pitcher of the Week honors last week, thanks to a near no-hit bid versus Lock Haven University.
He did not skip a beat in his follow-up performance, going for five innings of work, conceding two knocks and fanning nine, a strikeout shy of three straight outings with double-digit strikeouts.
Freshman Andrew Haynes and sophomore Noah Nabholz each tossed an inning of relief, with Haynes notching a strikeout and Nabholz tabbing three. Between the two games, the Raiders pitching staff did not allow a run for the remaining 13 innings.
But the bigger story of Game 2 may be SU’s bevy of scoring, as 10 of the 14 runs came in the first four frames. Junior Ben Werkhesier had a fine second game, plating the first run on an RBI double across a 2-for-4 line for the game. Redshirt-freshman Andres Garcia continued the Raiders’ first inning success on a two-RBI single and slashed .500 in Game 2, eventually totaling a team-high four RBIs.
After a second Werkheiser RBI double in the second, Darden got back in the RBI category, plating Yoder. Chronister bested Darden’s single with two RBIs, providing SU with the 7-0 advantage.
Garcia and freshman Braden Petty added three more runs in the fourth, an RBI single and a two-RBI double. The two RBIs were Petty’s first of the season.
The Raiders brought across two runs in the fifth and one run apiece in the sixth and seventh innings to finish off the lopsided 14-0 victory. SU saw at least two runs cross home in four of the seven stanzas.
The Raiders will look to extend their win streak to seven in Thursday's doubleheader versus Kutztown University after a near week's absence from the diamond. The Raiders host the Golden Bears Thursday before taking to the road Friday for another doubleheader. First pitches from Fairchild Field are scheduled for 1 and 3:30 p.m.