The Shepherd Rams baseball team cannot be stopped as of late, capping off another undefeated week and leapfrogging West Liberty for the top spot in the Mountain East Conference. The Rams now own a conference record of 17–4 and an overall record of 19–7.
This week, it was all about the long ball. In each game, the Rams scored at least eight runs and outscored their opponents 37–19. When you score that many runs in a game, rarely will you see that team lose. However, the pitching still did a great job to make sure the Rams got the win in each of the games.
There was one blowout this week that came in the first game of a two-game series against Wheeling Jesuit where the Rams emerged victorious by a final score of 11–0. Pitcher Paul Hvozdovic was lights out against the Cardinals, pitching a complete game shutout while only giving up two hits and striking out 11. The Rams’ ace notched his 27th career win and is now 5–0 on the season. Hvozdovic got his run support from a variety of batters during the game. Kyle Porter went three-for-three with a home run while Spencer Wolfe and Ryan Messina both drove in a pair of runs.
On the flip side of the double header against Wheeling Jesuit, the Rams took the victory 8–5. Outfielder Matt Wilson went two-for-three, driving in four runs while Messina had another multiple RBI game. Jamie Driver got the start for the Rams, going five innings and allowing two runs, one of them being unearned, four hits, and striking out one. The win brought his record up to 4–1. The Rams were able to overcome eight errors on the game, and even though they were able to secure the victory, they will have to buckle down and work on their defense.
Earlier in the week, the Rams traveled to West Virginia Wesleyan where they won both games in the series. West Virginia Wesleyan sports a record of 3–11, so it is no surprise the Rams were able to get the sweep. The Rams took game one 8–6 and won game two 10–8.
It was an all-around solid display of hitting by everyone during the week for the Rams. Jason Hepple was the only Ram who notched multiple RBI in game one, going one-for-four with two runs batted in. The Rams were able to score half of their runs based on errors which ended up costing the Bobcats the game. Had they committed zero errors, they would have beaten the Rams 6–4, which goes to show how important defense is. Bryan DiRosario got the win for the Rams, going six innings, giving up five runs, and striking out five.
In game two, freshman Jacob Carney recorded two hits and three RBIs. Michael Lott, Bryce Shemer and T.J. Weisenburg also recorded two RBIs each as the Rams reached the double-digit mark in runs during the game. Austin Hale came out of the bullpen to get the win, pitching 3 1/3 innings and only giving up one hit on no runs.
The Rams will be keeping a close eye on their schedule as they have a four game series against West Liberty coming up in two weeks. This series could potentially decide the winner of the conference depending on what happens leading up to the matchup. For now, the Rams will travel to Glenville State for their next series. This will be the Rams’ first matchup with the Pioneers who sport a record of 4–17 on the season. That could be the kind of series that either propels the Rams to conference glory or ends up being the kind of series they overlooked.