Shepherd Baseball Takes Command, Taking Two at Concord

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The Rams (13-12, 11-1 MEC) brought plenty of offense with them in their double-header Sunday afternoon against the Mountain Lions (14-14, 8-4 MEC), as they took both games of the double-header. In game one, the Rams won 5-3, but had an offensive explosion in game two, winning 16-4.

Senior infielder Brandon Kirk got the scoring started for the Rams in the top of the second inning with his single down the left field line that drove home two Rams for a 2-0 lead.

After a RBI single up the middle by senior outfielder Ron Farley in the top of the third inning, freshman outfielder Brenton Doyle was issued a bases-loaded walk, which gave the opportunity for redshirt-junior outfielder Daniel Heleine.

This gave the Rams an early 4-0 lead.

However, the Mountain Lions showed signs of life in the bottom of the third inning, as catcher Paul Williams lined out to center field far enough for outfielder Ryan Fralin to tag from third base and score.

A fielding error allowed infielder Nathan Neff to score, as infielder Chad Frazier reached first base on the play. Now trailing just 4-2, the Mountain Lions tied the game with outfielder Evan Webb’s RBI single to left field, as Frazier flew around third base and headed home.

With the lead in danger of falling away, junior infielder/outfielder Chase Hoffman gave the Rams a lift with his solo-shot homerun to left field that gave the Rams a two-run lead at 5-3.

Frazier reached second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, but infielder Trevor Wiersma, representing the tying run, flied out to right field to end game one.

Junior pitcher Ryan Pansch (4-0) earned the win for the Rams. He pitched six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, walking none, and striking out four.

In game two, the Mountain Lions seemed to have forgotten their gloves, as they committed six fielding errors.

Junior infielder/catcher Dalton Haymaker of the Rams capitalized on a fielding error by the Mountain Lions’ third baseman in the top of the fifth inning, as he reached first base. He was credited with an RBI in the play, as sophomore infielder Brian McCourt scored on the play.

After adding two more runs, the Rams held a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior pitcher John Bentley of the Rams (7.0 IP, 3 R, 11 H, 1 BB, 3 SO) gave up a RBI single to center field for the Mountain Lions’ first run of the game. Later in the inning, infielder Brett Simmons advanced to second base with his RBI single down the left field line that was misplayed by the Rams’ defense.

Just like that, the Rams’ lead was cut to one by the end of the inning. However, the Rams would respond to the tune of seven runs in the top of the seventh inning.

Senior outfielder JJ Sarty reached first base after a fielding error by the Mountain Lions’ shortstop. In the process, senior infielder Tyler Piccolo took advantage and scored the first run of the inning.

Hoffman later stepped up to the plate in the inning and smacked a ball up the middle to drive in two runs for the Rams. McCourt would later get to first base thanks to another fielding error by the Mountain Lions’ defense, with Hoffman coming home to score an unearned run to give the Rams a comfortable 8-2 lead.

The Rams would score two more runs in the inning on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch for a 10-2 lead. Clearly, the Mountain Lions’ mistakes piled up with them.

Whether it was bad pitching or untimely poor defensive play, the Mountain Lions dug themselves too large of a whole to overcome.

With the Rams hanging on to win 16-4, the Rams had plenty of reason to celebrate, winning both games of a double-header.

Nate Werner (2-1) pitched 6.1 innings for the Mountain Lions. While he did not have a day that he wanted to remember (9 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 2 SO), but his six unearned runs were largely due to the sub-par defensive efforts of his teammates.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Rams will travel to Shippensburg University for a double-header beginning at 1 p.m.

Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at abrack02@rams.shepherd.edu