The Rams (11-12, 9-1 MEC) won both games of a home double-header over the Cavaliers of UVa-Wise (11-17, 5-5 MEC). In game one, the Rams prevailed with an 8-1 victory, followed by an 11-4 victory in game two.
In game one, the Rams’ bats were hot from the start, taking a 4-0 lead through two innings of play.
Junior infielder/outfielder Chase Hoffman opened up the scoring with his RBI double to right center in the first inning, as senior outfielder JJ Sarty came in to score to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
Hoffman would score later in the inning thanks to an RBI double by senior outfielder Ron Farley to give the Rams a 2-0 lead.
Sarty, Hoffman, and redshirt-junior infielder/outfielder Daniel Heleine all recorded homeruns in the fourth inning to give the Rams a commanding 8-0 lead in the fourth inning.
The Cavaliers would respond with a run in the fifth inning, coming off of the bat of utility player Jordan Turner’s RBI double to right center field, as outfielder Josh Haga scored on the play.
That would be all the Cavaliers would be able to manage out of this game one though. Redshirt-freshman pitcher Joe Rindone improved to 3-2 on the season (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K) largely shut down the bats of the Cavaliers with his stellar play.
In game two, the Rams fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, as catcher David Thomas blasted a single to left field, bringing in Turner to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.
The Rams would quickly respond however, as Heleine continued his strong play from game one as he hit a two-run homerun to left field to give the Rams a 2-1 lead.
Despite recording 11 runs on 15 hits, the Rams were almost equally unimpressive with their fielding in the sixth inning alone.
In that sixth inning, the Rams had a 3-1 lead going into the inning, but lost it when they committed two errors in the inning. The first of these errors happened when outfielder Dante Salerno got to first base off of an error by the Rams’ second baseman. Catcher Tyler Blaum advanced to third on the play, and infielder Dawson Cagle scored an unearned run in the same play.
Later in the inning, Blaum scored another unearned run thanks to a wild pitch by sophomore pitcher AJ Stead. Just like that, the game was tied at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Sophomore infielder Brian McCourt responded for the Rams with his RBI single to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Rams a 4-3 lead, but it was the seven-run seventh inning that really blew the game wide open for the Rams.
Freshman outfielder Brenton Doyle hit a homerun for the first run of the inning. Junior infielder/catcher Dalton Haymaker scored on a wild pitch for another run and gave the Rams a 6-3 lead.
After two more RBI singles for the Rams, the Cavaliers were surely discouraged, and it did not get any better from there. Already leading 8-3, McCourt reached first base thanks to an error by the Cavaliers’ shortstop. During the play, Heleine and Hoffman flew around the bases, scoring a pair of unearned runs to give the Rams a safe 10-3 lead at that point.
The Rams would go on to win the game by an 11-4 score. Stead (2-3) earned the win for the Rams. He went six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits on five hits, walking five and striking out five as well.
The Rams will look to earn a winning record by winning two road games Sunday afternoon over Concord. Game one of the double-header starts at 1 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org