Baseball set to battle Millersville after win over Pitt-Johnstown

Jake McDonnell, Staff Writer

       Over the weekend, the Bloomsburg University baseball team dropped three of four games to West Chester University. On Saturday, Apr. 27, the Golden Rams swept the Huskies 9-1 and 10-3 in West Chester. Then on Sunday, Apr. 28 in Bloomsburg, Bloomsburg won the first game 5-4 before losing the second game 10-7.

      Freshman outfielder Ben Newbert got things going in the third inning of game one with a towering three-run home run. West Chester answered in the fourth inning when Bloomsburg starter Zach Newmyer hit Jon Hansen of West Chester with the bases loaded. In the bottom of the frame, freshman infielder Kyle OFier scored after a throwing error by the West Chester third baseman. Bloomsburg added a second  inning off a sacrifice flyout by Austin Edgette that scored Ryan Shiffer.

       Leading 5-1 going into the fifth, Bloomsburg needed nine outs to put Saturday behind them. The Golden Rams threatened in the late innings when Newmyer walked two West Chester batters to put runners on first and second with one out. Jeremy Zezza came on in relief, and after recording a strikeout, West Chester catcher Corey Webb smacked a two-run double to right field. Zezza was then pulled for Trey Hinkle, who finished the game for Bloomsburg. West Chester added their fourth run in the sixth inning, and the Bloomsburg infield committed three errors over the final two innings, but the Huskies escaped game one with the 5-4 win.

      Bloomsburg struck first again via the long ball in the first inning of game two when shortstop Nate Krizan smacked a two-run home run to. In the second inning, Webb cut the lead in half with an RBI single. In the bottom of the second, the Huskies totaled five runs on RBI singles by Jake Reed, Cole Swiger, and Edgette, along with Krizan driving two runs in on a double down the left-field line. The Huskies held a commanding 7-2 lead after the first two innings, but West Chester quickly responded in the top of the third inning. The Golden Rams rallied quickly, hitting four straight doubles off Bloomsburg starter Chad Cooperman to make it 7-4. West Chester added another run in the inning when Drew Jarmuz singled, but then Cooperman retired the side.

      Despite scoring seven runs over the first two innings, the Huskies could not adjust to the pitching change from Scott McKenna to Bill Ford. All seven Bloomsburg runs were charged to McKenna, who went just 1.2 innings in his start. Over the final 5-1 innings, Ford limited Bloomsburg to three hits with four strikeouts.

      West Chester added five runs off three separate home runs over the final three innings to escape with a 10-7 win. Zach Sheranko hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, with Shane Dressler (sixth inning) and Joey Coyle (seventh inning) hitting two-run homers of their own. Unfortunately, some blatantly-questionable rulings by home plate umpire Kenneth Reisinger thwarted Bloomsburg’s effort in the late innings, but Ford’s ability to shut down the Huskies’ hot bats ultimately made the difference.

      Then, on Tuesday, May 1, Bloomsburg topped Pitt-Johnstown 15-5 in a nine-inning affair at Danny Litwhiler Field, highlighted by a seven-run eighth inning by the Huskies. Edgette went three-for-six at the plate with four RBI on a two-run home run, a single, and a walk. Backup catcher Jared Burcin also posted four RBI on a two-run double, a single, and a sacrifice fly-out. OFier notched two separate RBI singles. On the mound, Nick Stoner earned his fifth win of the season, pitching three innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits and two strikeouts. Brett Alaimo (3.1 innings), James Reardon IV (1.2 innings) and JJ Spehrley (1.0 innings) also saw action on the hill.

      After Tuesday’s action, the Huskies are 28-13 overall with a 16-8 record against the PSAC East. Bloomsburg currently sits in first place in the division, but West Chester is right on their tails at 27-13, 16-8. This weekend, Bloomsburg and Millersville will play four games, two on Friday in Millersville and two on Saturday in Bloomsburg, with start times on both days slated for 1:00 pm. The series carries serious playoff implications, as Millersville (28-16, 16-8) stands third in a tight division race.