By AHMED MALIK
Randolph-Macon College proved to be formidable an opponent for the University of Mary Washington baseball team this past Saturday, as the Eagles failed to come away with a win in their home doubleheader.
The visiting Yellow Jackets took the first game over UMW 2-0, and then tied the second game 1-1 in a 14-inning standoff. RMC used tough pitching to hold the Eagles to just six hits and no runs in the first game en route to a shutout. Junior pitcher Michael Straub pitched seven strong innings for the Eagles, recording five strikeouts and allowing just two runs on seven hits. Yet Straub was outdueled by Randolph-Macon’s Jamie Hendrick, who struck out six in his complete game victory.
The second game saw a continued standoff between both teams, as stellar pitching and defense kept the game’s scoring at a minimum. RMC took the early lead in the second inning on an RBI-single by catcher Ryan Dicht, while Yellow Jackets pitcher Michael Helbig held the Eagles offense at bay.
But UMW responded in the bottom of the seventh inning when senior outfielder Jeffrey Zeisler got things started with a leadoff single and later scored on designated hitter Seth Jordan’s sacrifice fly to force extra innings.
The following seven innings were scoreless on both sides before the game was called a tie because of insufficient light. Eagles’ senior pitcher Matt Abramson put up a sparkling line (nine innings pitched, four hits and one run allowed while recording nine strikeouts) and sophomore Chris Sommerville was equally as impressive in relief (five innings, one hit allowed, no runs). UMW pitching surrendered just five hits in the second game’s 14-inning marathon, but the offense couldn’t muster anything more against the strong Yellow Jackets pitching.
“Tough two games against a good team. Give their pitchers credit,” Straub said. “It’s important that we learn from these two games and move forward heading into our next matchup.”
Despite the loss, a couple of the Eagles’ strengths were on display during the doubleheader.
“Our pitching and defense was good and kept both games close to give our team a chance to win,” Abramson stated. “We just have to do what we did in the bottom of the seventh inning of game two with our situational hitting and take that into every game. We’re going to focus on getting better each day both offensively and defensively and that will give our team the opportunity to achieve this season’s goals.”
With an array of senior leadership and talent spread about, this year’s baseball team is focused on capturing their second CAC championship in the last three years.
This past Saturday’s results dropped the Eagles record to 1-2-1 overall while Randolph-Macon improved to 2-0-1 on the young season.
The Eagles will next play a double-header against Penn State Altoona this Saturday at noon.