Fortunately, for the second day in a row, Millersville’s baseball team shot ahead of Winston-Salem State in the early innings.
Unfortunately, for the second day in a row, the Marauders found their lead blown to bits by the end of the game.
Another squandered opportunity on Saturday led to a 15-7 loss for Millersville (0-2), the second blown lead of the two-games-old season. Winston-Salem (2-3) had their bats explode for the most runs scored against the Marauders since 2010, thanks to a gigantic fourth inning that culminated with seven runs batted in.
On a 54-degree, clear day in North Carolina, the Marauders definitely take a vacation in the first few innings – particularly the second. Junior Mark Stuckey started it off with a two-run single. Then, off of an error from Winston-Salem’s shortstop, Stuckey reached home along with senior Evan King, who started off on first base. The damage done in the top of the inning was four runs.
But as any science aficionado would know from Newton’s Laws of Motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction – and Winston-Salem was no exception.
In the bottom half of the inning, back-to-back singles had freshman Jim McDade working up a sweat in his first career start at the collegiate level. An error, resulting in the bases being loaded, definitely didn’t dumb his nerves down, seeing that the next batter he faced drove in two runs with a double to left field.
The second inning didn’t fare any better for McDade. He walked his first two opponents; firstly via a hit batter, then with a base on balls. McDade’s luck was supposedly off enjoying the weather while, at home, a Nor’easter containing snow, freezing rain and 30-degree weather engulfed the state of Pennsylvania, as another error from Millersville’s infield caused unearned run number three. Soon after, the lead jumped over to Winston-Salem’s bench. After two doubles, the scoreboard showed 5-4.
The trend of miscues and lackluster pitching continued in the latter part of the game, as Winston-Salem catapulted ahead with 10 more runs in the next 2 innings, cementing their victory by only allowing Millersville to squeak by 3 runs in the final 5 innings.
McDade was pulled in the third inning, only although giving up five runs, only one was earned. Junior right-hander Tad Barton wound up with the loss with his six-earned – seven total – runs let up in the fifth inning. It took a total of six pitchers to suppress the offensive onslaught by Winston-Salem, while none of them pitched longer than a span of three innings. Although 15 of the Marauders’ opponents’ cleats touched home base, only 10 of them were not off of errors by Millersville’s infield. That means the game may have been much closer – 10-7 to be exact – than what it resulted in.
On the offensive side, first baseman Zach Stone was above the fray with three runs-batted-in. Stuckey followed with two, and senior Jeff Heisey and freshman Tyler Orris both shared one.
A hurdle for Millersville’s coach, Jon Shehan, was plopped in front of him and his team on Saturday, after two straight blown leads led to losses to kick off the 2013 season. Will he be able to galvanize his team and jump over their obstacle in order to turn around their season?
Telling by a 13-11 victory on Sunday to avoid a season-starting sweep against Winston-Salem State, Shehan’s club seems to have both feet off the ground, moving towards another hurdle: the North Georgia Classic, starting on Thursday, Valentine’s Day, where love will surely not be in the air.