SU baseball: Strong pitching helped Raiders
The Raiders had a pair of strong pitching performances Thursday en route to a split of a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division doubleheader with West Chester. The SU baseball team won Game 1, 5-1, before dropping Game 2, 4-3, in action at Fairchild Field.
Shippensburg (15-15, 13-13 PSAC East) and West Chester (15-9, 15-9) waited out a rain delay of about two hours on Thursday before getting things started at 2:15 p.m. They endured some soggy conditions in Game 1 and a steady breeze all day long but played two games in four hours to stay on schedule.
Game 1 gem
Kiernan Higgins (Buffalo, N.Y./Bishop Timon- St. Jude (Coastal Carolina)) threw a gem in Game 1, matching his career high with 12 strikeouts for a complete-game victory that upped his record to 4-4. Higgins yielded just two hits, walked four and allowed an unearned run. It is his second complete game and his third double-digit strikeout game this season.
SU plated two runs in the second, one on an RBI-single by freshman Andrew Chronister (Dover, Pa./Dover Area) and another on a sacrifice fly by Lake Lloyd (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron), but its biggest hit was a three-run home run by Ben Werkheiser (Doylestown, Pa./Germantown Academy (Delaware)) with two outs in the fourth inning that gave the Raiders a 5-0 lead.
It was more than enough support for Higgins, who struck out the side in the second and struck out multiple batters in four innings. Both Game 1 pitchers threw complete games, combining to throw 200 pitches in a game that lasted 1:55.
Game 2 action
Graduate Kyle Lysy (Allentown, N.J./Allentown) scattered three runs on seven hits in Game 2, striking out seven in a no decision. The nightcap was 1-0 through five innings.
SU entered the bottom of the sixth inning hitless and trailing 3-0, but proceeded to start the frame with a Joe Barbera (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) single, Jackson LoBianco (Irvine, Cal./University) RBI-double, JuJu Cason (East Arcadia, N.C./North Brunswick (Belmont Abbey)) RBI-single and stolen base, and Werkheiser RBI-single to even the score at 3-3.
The Golden Rams answered with a run in the top of the seventh against the Raider bullpen, and starter Culver Hughes wrapped up a 77-pitch effort to record a complete-game win.
LoBianco finished the doubleheader with two doubles and a walk; he was one of six Raiders with multiple hits on the day. Barbera and Cason each scored twice.
Shippensburg headed to the Maple Zone complex on Friday to complete the doubleheader with West Chester. First pitch was set for noon.