This past Saturday, April 10th, the University of Mary Washington baseball team hosted Stevenson University for a double-header at the battleground athletic stadium.
Mary Washington lost both games of the double-header, each defeat by a single run. The Eagles fell 5-4 in nine innings in the opening game and dropped a tough extra innings battle in the second game, losing 6-5 in 10 innings. The Eagle men were not expecting the losses and were caught off guard.
“Last weekend’s games were a big dent in our season. These games were supposed to be victories, because Stevenson can’t hang with us. We should have dominated them,” senior Aaron Byrd said.
In both games, UMW was in the hunt for the win, but Stevenson edged them out in the late innings in each game.
The visiting Mustangs took an early 2-0 lead in the first game on an RBI double by junior Brandon Krochune in the top of the first inning. Stevenson scored two more runs in the top of the third to push their lead over the Eagles to 4-0.
But UMW responded in the bottom of the third, as senior shortstop Seamus Bergen drove in a run on an RBI single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by fellow senior Will Wright.
After a couple of quiet offensive innings for both teams, the Eagles got things going again with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game up at 4-4. A double by Wright brought the first run home and he later scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore third baseman Santino Rosanova.
However Stevenson had the last laugh, as a leadoff ninth inning walk came back to haunt UMW relief pitcher Nick Corbin, as the runner ended up scoring what turned out to be the deciding run inthe game.
Junior pitcher John Miscioscia had a solid performance for the Eagles, as he pitched seven innings giving up seven hits, one walk, and four runs (only two earned runs). He got a no decision while Corbin picked up the loss.
UMW fell behind early once again in the second game of the double-header, as the Mustangs got three runs in the first inning. The Eagles did not stay down too long as they scored four runs in the home half of the fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead. The big inning was highlighted by a two-run homerun by Wright.
The two teams each scored a run in the fifth and Stevenson tied the game in the top of the seventh on sophomore Justin Anderson’s RBI single. Neither team could break the 5-5 deadlock in nine innings, so the game went to extra innings.
In the top of the tenth a costly one-out error allowed the Mustangs Anderson to reach, and the mistake cost the Eagles as Anderson came around to score on a two-out RBI single by freshman outfielder Heath Johnson. UMW could not tie the game in the bottom half of the tenth and fell 6-5.
“The team must remember to remain focused on the games at hand,” Byrd said. “We can’t look to upcoming games when we have games now that we must play and win. Every player must remember that the present is now, and that the future is sometime after that.”
The UMW men have been working hard since the fall semester with strenuous workout routines. The team has devoted a lot of time to weight training, including baseball-specific lifting programs by the direction of Yankees’ strength and conditioning coach Dana Cavalea. The baseball team hopes that all the hard work in the offseason will pay off now.
Since last weekend, the team is not letting the defeats sidetrack their mission. Like every year, the men have the CAC championship in their crosshairs. They are confident they will succeed in the conference tournament and advance to NCAA regionals.
“The entire season has been a standout performance for the UMW baseball team,” Byrd said. “We’ve had players get CAC player of the week multiple times. We’ve had younger guys step up and make big plays and big hits. Our pitchers have thrown stellar performances, our hitters have been performing in key situations, and we’ve received a lot of support from every player on the team.”