Huskies’ pitchers put Bears to sleep in sweep: Raines, Stoner help lead BU baseball to two wins over Kutztown

Evin Hartsock , Managing Editor

      Strong performances on the mound was the difference for the Bloomsburg University baseball team as they won both games of a doubleheader against Kutztown in their home debut on Sunday at Danny Litwhiler Field by scores of 6-1 and 9-1.

 

      In Game 1, junior Ashton Raines struck out eight batters and allowed just one run on six hits and three walks. Freshman Nick Stoner shined in his first home game as a husky, striking out nine and giving up just two hits and one walk in six innings in Game 2.

     Raines struggled early in his start and could not seem to find the strike zone, throwing some balls and strikes inconsistently. However, as the game progressed, Raines began to settle in and hit the zone precisely when he needed to, especially in key moments.

      In the top of the second inning, the junior right-hander found himself in a jam with the bases loaded and, instead of falling apart, regained his composure and struck out the next batter to get out of the inning unscathed.

     Raines showed the same resiliency in the top of the third inning as he gave up a double to the leadoff hitter, then a deep gap shot to centerfield that allowed Kutztown to score a run. He bounced back with two strikeouts and forced a groundout to escape the inning.

     Raines was in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the game, sitting down the first two batters he faced in the top of the fourth inning. Then, he struck out another batter in the fifth before senior Mike Warren took over for him in the sixth inning. Warren struck out two batters in his two innings of work to secure the win.

    The Huskies’ offense in Game 1 was more of a product of poor pitching from Kutztown than their own bats, as Kutztown’s Mike Kammerer had an off day on the mound.  

    In the bottom of the second inning, Kammerer allowed Bloomsburg to score two runs off walks. Kyle OFier and Chad Cooperman singled, and then Nate Krizan, Cole Swiger, and Austin Edgette all walked to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

   Bloomsburg did capitalize when hittable pitches came their way. An inning later, Krizan blasted a ball to right center on the first pitch he saw, batting in Ben Newbert and OFier to extend BU’s lead to 5-1. Redshirt junior Shane Woelfel had previously scored on a wild pitch prior to Krizan’s two-RBI single. Edgette would round out BU’s scoring in Game 1 with an RBI double down the first base line for a final score of 6-1 in favor of the Huskies.

      Game 2 of the doubleheader started off with more consistent pitching from Kutztown as sophomore Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish gave BU hitters trouble early on. He struck out two of the first three Bloomsburg batters he saw before the Huskies got their offense going in the bottom of the second. A leadoff double from Newbert and a deep hit to center from Cooperman got BU on the board 1-0.

     Bloomsburg’s offense exploded in the third inning. The Huskies plated five runs on four hits and an error. Swiger and Edgette got the rally started with singles, and Ryan Shiffer doubled to left, scoring both runs. After Woelfel walked, Shiffer scored on a throwing error that saw Andrew Holmes reach first. Woelfel reached home on a single by Newbert, and Holmes scored when Krizan flew out to left field for the second out of the inning. Bloomsburg entered inning #4 with a comfortable 6-1 lead.

     Bloomsburg added three more runs on a fourth inning double by Holmes and a Kutztown error in the sixth that plated the final two runs, awarding the Huskies the 9-1 win.

      Kutztown’s lone run, the only one scored on Stoner, came with a bit of controversy. After Stoner adjusted his hat on the mound, the umpire claimed that he had moved off the rubber and allowed a runner on first to advance to second on a balk.

     Another questionable call was made when a KU runner scored off a single hit to left field. The umpire seemed to stand in front of home plate during the play, interfering with any throw that could have been made home. Shiffer argued the call with the umpire, but he upheld his decision.

      After that, Stoner controlled the remainder of the game, pitching five scoreless innings and allowing just one more hit. Sophomore J.J. Sperhley relieved Stoner in the top of the seventh to secure the win.

     With the sweep of Kutztown, the Huskies improved to 10-4 on the season and will be back in action on Friday, Mar. 30 at home for a doubleheader against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) rival Shippensburg. First pitch is slated for 1:00 pm at Danny Litwhiler field.

 

Freshman Nick Stoner eyes up home plate in his first home start at Danny Litwhiler Field.