Baseball Shows Improved Hitting
The University of Mary Washington baseball team took two out of three games on the road against conference foe St. Mary’s College this past weekend to inch closer to the .500 mark on the season. The five-game skid that the Eagles were marred in a couple of weeks back seems far gone now, as UMW has now won four of their last six contests.
Junior pitcher Torey Mancari took the ball in the first game of the weekend series against the Seahawks, and the Eagles ace delivered another standout performance. Mancari went the distance in the opener to notch the complete game win, surrendering just two runs on three hits in his seven innings of work. After striking out a career-high 15 batters in his last outing, Mancari again piled up K’s this past weekend by whiffing 11 Seahawks batters.
“All my pitches seemed to be working,” Mancari said, “but my go to strikeout pitch was my curveball.”
St. Mary’s got the scoring started by scraping across a pair of first inning runs. However, after a leadoff double to start the second, senior Santino Rosanova came around to score on a past ball to get UMW their first run of the game. Sophomore Kevin Yarnell was then driven in by senior Shane Sixsmith’s RBI triple to knot the game up at 2-2.
Mancari baffled the Seahawks batters after his shaky first inning and his offense gave him some well-deserved run support. A pinch-hit, fifth inning sacrifice fly by senior Jeff Zeisler gave UMW their first lead of the game. Immediately following Zeisler’s at bat, freshman Jonathan Haught extended the Eagles advantage to 4-2 by driving in another run with his RBI triple. Mary Washington increased their advantage to 5-2 in the sixth inning thanks to an RBI single by junior Seth Jordan and the Eagles held on to win by that same score.
The UMW offense racked up 13 hits and five different Eagles’ recorded multi-hit games in the victory, which was a positive sign given the hitting inconsistencies Mary Washington has had this season.
“It’s always encouraging to see the offense rack up hits and runs to help us win games,” Mancari said. “On the mound a pitcher has to have confidence all the time, but the run support makes the job seem easier.”
However, the Eagles offense found things more difficult in the second game of the three-game set. Seahawks’ pitcher Wick Eisenberg quieted the Mary Washington bats, holding the Eagles to just four hits and one run in the contest. UMW senior pitcher Matt Abramson did his best to match Eisenberg, but came out on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel as the Eagles fell 2-1.
Abramson started strong by beginning his outing with a pair of strikeouts, but the Seahawks put together a two-out rally to get on the scoreboard with a couple of first inning runs.
“I just didn’t make quality pitches when I had to,” Abramson said. “Two strike hits shouldn’t happen and I just didn’t make the right pitch in that situation and it hurt us.”
After allowing three base runners in the first, Abramson settled in to give up just two hits the rest of the game. The junior pitcher struck out nine batters in six innings and closed his outing by retiring the final 11 batters he faced.
The rubber match of the Eagles road series took place on Sunday, April 1, the day after the initial doubleheader. With the new day came the resurgence of the Mary Washington bats, as UMW ripped 11 hits and scored five runs to take the series against their CAC rival with 5-0 win.
Five Eagles delivered multi-hit performances, led by Yarnell’s game-high three hits. Jordan and sophomore Jake Rudman each drove in a pair while Sixsmith and freshman Connor Wells each scored two runs apiece.
Junior pitcher Michael Straub played with fire all day, but was able to work out of jams to prevent the 11 base runners he allowed from scoring. Straub struggled with his command in his five and a third innings, as he walked seven in the game, but he was still able to put up zeros where it mattered most. Sophomore pitcher Nick McGovern came on in relief to pitch a scoreless 3.2 innings to help seal the win for the Eagles.
“The wins against St. Mary’s were huge,” Abramson said. “Taking two out of three games against a conference opponent is always big; it was a good weekend of baseball for us overall.”
Mary Washington now sits at 9-12-1 overall and 4-8 in Capital Athletic Conference play. They currently rest in the cellar of the CAC season standings, yet they are only a game out of fourth place in a jumbled conference. With the season winding down and just two conference series and six CAC games remaining on the schedule, the Eagles’ are prepared for the home stretch.
“I know we’re all looking forward to the rest of the season and our goal hasn’t changed since the beginning,” Abramson said. “We’re focused on winning the CAC Tournament and we are going to take each game one at a time.”
Mary Washington will next take the field in an afternoon game today when they host Catholic University at 3:30 p.m.