Shepherd baseball picks up first win of the 2018 season against USC Aiken

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Rams Pitcher Collin Benner (Photo courtesy of Shepherd University Athletics Department)

The Shepherd Rams baseball team (1-5) was able to pick up its first win of the season with a 13-7 victory over the USC Aiken Pacers (4-1) on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 10, in Aiken, South Carolina. Saturday’s win came as a welcome sign for the Rams, as the team had lost its first five contests.

Shepherd had lost the previous two matchups in the three-game series against Aiken but was able to find their bats on Saturday against USC Aiken, evidenced by their 13 runs.

The Rams busted the game open in the top of the second inning by scoring four runs thanks RBI singles by sophomore shortstop Trenton Burgeen, sophomore center fielder Brenton Doyle, and junior right fielder Nick Atkinson, respectively. Doyle’s RBI single brought in two runs for the Rams.

Atkinson finished with his best game of the season with four hits out of five at bats, adding two runs and one RBI.

Shepherd extended the lead up to 9-0 by the top of the third inning before USC Aiken was able to respond to the offensive onslaught put on by the Rams.

However, momentum quickly swung in USC Aiken’s favor in large part due to a two-run homer by USC Aiken center fielder Jose Bonilla in the bottom of the fifth inning to bring the score to 9-4.

USC Aiken was able to get the lead down to 9-6 before the Shepherd offense got another shot at bat.

Atkinson was able to score off a double from junior designated hitter Justin Smith to get the score to 10-6 in the top of the sixth inning.

Doyle, Atkinson, and Burgeen (on a wild pitch) added three runs for the Rams in the top of the eighth and ninth innings to bring the Shepherd total to 13.

Rams junior starting pitcher Ryan Potts also picked up his first win of the season while junior relief pitcher Colin Benner was awarded the save.

With 14 total hits on the day, the Rams will hope they can bring their hot bats to Petersburg, Virginia, where they will take on Virginia State University on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the first of a three-game series. On Feb. 24, a double-header will be played beginning at 1 p.m. Game two is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Vaughn Brewer is a sports writer for The Picket. He can be reached at vbrewe01@rams.shepherd.edu