The Shippensburg University baseball team opened Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) play by dropping both ends of a road doubleheader to the No. 6-ranked West Chester Golden Rams Thursday at WCU’s Serpico Stadium, 7-1 and 6-1.
Shippensburg (12-7, 0-2 PSAC) was held by West Chester starting pitchers Joe Sperone and David Ferguson to just a single run in the first 15 innings of the twinbill – a solo home run by junior Austin Baal (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra (Middle Tennessee State)) in Game 1. Sophomore Jaxon Dalena (Cogan Station, Pa./Montoursville (Monmouth)) doubled home a run in the ninth inning of Game 2 against the West Chester bullpen.
West Chester (10-3, 2-0 PSAC) jumped out to an early lead and rode its starting pitcher to victory in both games.
Game 1: West Chester 7, Shippensburg 1
The Raider bats were held to only three hits over seven frames by Sperone, the Golden Rams’ Game 1 starter.
Sperone needed just 84 pitches to go the distance, striking out six and walking one.
SU starting pitcher freshman J.T. Weaver (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township), who issued just five free passes in 25 innings prior to Thursday’s outing, walked four and uncorked two wild pitches over 5.1 frames.
Weaver walked a pair and allowed a run to cross on a wild pitch during the Golden Rams’ four-run rally in the bottom of the second and was charged with six runs total (five earned). He finished with five strikeouts.
West Chester’s Evan Profy delivered a two-run single during the early rally.
The Golden Rams tacked on three more in the home half of the sixth. John DeMucci tripled and scored on a wild pitch, and Sean Szestowicki clubbed an inside the park home run.
Baal blasted a solo shot in the top of the fourth inning for the Raiders’ only run. Graduate Justin Byler (Lititz, Pa./Warwick (Delaware/Louisburg)) (double) and redshirt-sophomore Brock Piper (Newville, Pa/Big Spring (George Mason)) accounted for the Raiders’ only other hits.
Redshirt-freshman Eric Bohenek (Clifton, Va./Centreville) recorded a pair of strikeouts in 0.2 innings of relief.
Game 2: West Chester 6, Shippensburg 1
Ferguson stymied the Ship bats over eight scoreless innings in Game 2, lowering his season ERA to 0.41 in 22 total innings.
The right-hander allowed just five hits, fanned six and walked none.
Shippensburg sophomore Gio Calamia (Burleson, Tex. Joshua (Mount Saint Mary’s)) greeted Ferguson with a lead-off single to start the game, and Baal later walked, but Ferguson was able to get out of the inning unscathed.
As it turned out, that would be one of the Raiders’ best chances to get to the West Chester starter in the game.
The host Rams responded with a first inning run off junior starting pitcher Gabe Stotler (Warfordsburg, Pa./Southern Fulton), and scratched a second run across in the third.
The Raiders threatened in the fourth, collecting two-out singles from junior Morgan Wyatt (Richmond, Va./Mills Godwin (Radford)) and Byler to put a pair of runners on for Dalena. Dalena hit a sharp comebacker that was knocked down by Ferguson, and the West Chester pitcher was able to beat Dalena with the throw to leave the base runners stranded.
The Golden Rams blew the game open with a 4-run rally just a half-inning later, highlighted by a Profy two-run double.
Shippensburg tallied a consolation run in the ninth. Byler hit his way aboard ahead of Dalena, who drove him in with a line drive double down the right field line.
Byler finished with three hits in the nightcap and four total for the day.
Freshman Mike Heckman (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township) tallied the only extra-base hit against Ferguson, a double on a 3-0 count in the top of the eighth.
Stotler lasted three plus innings on the mound and was charged with three runs on two hits. He finished with three punchouts.
Junior Ethan Miller (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) came on in the fourth and fanned four over four total frames, and freshman Brenden Anderson (Georgetown, Del./Sussex Central) struck out one in a scoreless eighth.