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The Blue & Gray Press | October 23, 2017

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Warm weather brings wins for baseball season opener

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With the snow and rough winter weather aside, the University of Mary Washington baseball team found a weekend stretch of warmth, beginning their regular season at home with two double headers against Messiah University and Penn State-Altoona at Dickinson Stadium.

Starting the season on Saturday, Feb. 22, sophomore Bernie Mayflower took the hill for the Eagles. UMW began the game on a very high note after loading the bases with no outs.

Three runs were scored in the bottom half of the first inning to give UMW a 3-0 lead. The following inning, the Eagles tacked on another run after notable base running skills demonstrated by freshman Nolan Gilbert.

The run by Gilbert would be the final run by the Eagles for the remainder of the game, as over the course of the next four innings Messiah added seven runs, putting the score at 7-4.

This was the final score as freshman Nick Mcintyre prevented Messiah from putting up a single run after the sixth inning.

Mayflower would end up taking the loss for the Eagles, as they prepared for their three o’clock game at 3 p.m.

Freshman Paul McClure took the mound in the second game of the double header for his first collegiate career outing. Once again, the Eagles struck first as they scored three runs in the third inning on RBI’s from three separate Eagle’s.

McClure lasted five 2/3 innings, after allowing not a single earned run, with two being scored from errors.

McClure finished with four strikeouts and was replaced by fellow freshman Erik Jorgensen, who pitched two 1/3 innings, allowing only a single run going into the ninth inning.

A third freshman came on to pitch the top of the ninth for the Eagles, as Thomas Weaver pitched a scoreless ninth, putting him in line for the victory if the Eagles pulled it out in the bottom half of the inning.

The Eagles loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the ninth, which then brought sophomore catcher Tyler Truslow to the plate.

Truslow used his good batter’s eye to draw a walk, driving in junior Brendan Jones for the winning run. After splitting the double header, the Eagles went into the next day’s double header against Penn State-Altoona with a record of 1-1.

Senior lefty Ben Sisk took the ball for the Eagles going in o their day game of the double header. The Eagles opened up the gates early and in the second inning junior Jono Haught hit a blast to end him at second base for an early double.

Haught then made his way to third and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Weaver to put the Eagles up 1-0.

The Eagles added three more runs in the third inning on three RBI singles, including one by Truslow and another by Haught.

UMW added on another run in the following two innings, putting them up 6-0 at the end of the fifth.

Penn State-Altoona did not score their first run until the top of the seventh, ending Sisk’s bid at a shutout. He left the game after the seventh inning, allowing only one hit while striking out nine.

Sisk was replaced by Tyler Daig, who pitched two innings of perfection. The Eagles increased their lead and added four more runs in the bottom of the eighth with the help of sophomore Connor Finnerty driving in two on a big time double.

Truslow and Haught both finished the game 3-4, while Truslow drove in two and Haught drove in one himself with his early blast.

Their numbers were out shined by the phenomenal pitching performance by Sisk, who was named CAC pitcher of the week.

“To see that hard work pay off in the first game I throw is an awesome feeling, but now I have to focus on the next start and repeat it,” said Sisk about the title.

In the next game, at 2-1, freshman Cole Jarvis took the mound in the night game. Jarvis had a shaky start as first time pitching nerves set in, allowing two runs in the first inning.

The nerves subsided, and Jarvis calmed down to prove himself by not allowing another run for the remaining five innings he pitched. Jarvis finished with five strikeouts.

The Eagles put up an offensive production themselves as they scored single runs in the sixth and eighth innings, tying the score going into the final inning.

McIntyre came in relief for Jarvis’ pitching as he pitched the final three innings of the game. McIntyre allowed a single run in the top of the ninth, giving Penn State-Altoona the 4-3 lead heading into the final half of the inning.

A lead off walk was taken by Sink, who then moved over on a sacrifice bunt laid down by Jones.

Junior Alex Bryant then drove Sink in on a very clutch double, to knot the score up at 4-4.

For base running purposes, sophomore Derek Nease pinch ran for Bryant. With emotions high in Dickinson Stadium, Nease scored on an Altoona error to give the Eagles the 5-4 victory and a sweep of the double header.

UMW finished the weekend at an exciting 3-1 after winning both double headers in very exciting fashion.

Second year head coach Wayne Riser described his feelings after the weekend as “encouraged” and said he expects the team to “grow and develop in to a very competitive team” as the season moves along.

The Eagles will play their next game on Thursday, Feb. 27 against Neumann College at UMW at Dickinson Stadium.