By NICK NELSON
Closing out a three-game sweep between the road and home, the Mary Washington baseball team soundly defeated the Gallaudet Bison 16-0 on Monday at the Battlegrounds, creating their own “March madness” in an off-day from basketball tournament play.
The win put the Eagle sluggers at 9-7 on the season, with a 4-6 record in the Capital Athletic Conference. The Bison fell to 2-12-1 overall and a winless in conference play at 0-10.
Coach Tom Sheridan had nothing but good things to say about his team’s performance in Monday’s contest.
“We had a good team out there today with really good pitching,” Sheridan said. “We only [gave up] one base runner in six innings, and that was on an error.”
The game began quickly in Mary Washington’s favor, as they plated four in the first two innings, and then erupted for six runs in the third, putting themselves up by a margin of 10-0 just over an hour into Monday’s game.
Even playing a shortened, seven-inning game, the Eagles managed to score a run in all but the fourth and seventh innings, scoring one in the fifth inning and five in the sixth.
The pitching was solid on the Mary Washington side, as sophomore starting pitcher Dan Murdoch pitched six innings of near-perfect no-hit baseball, fanning six and walking none. Sophomore reliever Parker Talbot came in and finished the job with a scoreless seventh allowing one hit and striking out two.
The hitting was equally strong, as the Eagles erupted for eighteen hits in the shortened contest. The offensive barrage was led by junior centerfielder Alex Howell, who went 4-5 with three doubles, a run scored and two runs batted in. Senior first baseman Alex Quintana added a 3-5 outing with a double, two runs scored and one RBI.
Junior infielder Will Wright went 2-3 with three runs while junior catcher Nick Espinosa contributed by taking not just one, but two for the team, being hit by two pitches and connecting for two hits.
Sophomore infielder Bill Beovich also went 2-3 with two walks and three runs scored.
The lone Bison hit came in the seventh inning in the form of a single by freshman shortstop Jeremy Schepps.
“Games like this are great, because they let a lot of different guys play,” Sheridan said. “These guys work hard, we’re a good team, we’re very young, and I’ve seen the hitting really improve.”
Youth is the key word for the 2009 Eagle squad, with 15 freshmen and 10 sophomores relying on the experience and leadership of seniors Quintana, Wes Hayden, Andrew Cox and Sean Marren.
The Eagles had a rough start to the season, winning their first three, but dropping the next six contests. They have since rebounding, winning six of their last eight and getting their overall record back into winning territory.
Despite the early season struggles, Sheridan is confident in the strength of his team from here until the conclusion of the season in May.
“You know, Dan [Murdoch] is our number six guy [in the rotation],” Sheridan said. “When you can start a guy like that, it shows you have really deep pitching. This is a team with a lot of potential.”
The Eagles faced Randolph-Macon College Wednesday, but the results came in too late for today’s issue. The Eagles play Bridgewater College today at 3:30 p.m. at the Battlegrounds, where they will look to avenge a hard-fought 12-8 loss just six days ago.
Looking forward, the weekend brings a doubleheader at home for a Capital Athletic Conference matchup against Wesley College on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. It will be the Eagles’ first meeting against both squads this season.