By MIKEY BARNES
Down 4-0, with an eight-hit differential going into the bottom of the third inning, was not the ideal start for the University of Mary Washington baseball team in their opening round game of the conference playoffs. UMW began the game at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15 against Marymount at Dickinson Field, the home field for the UMW Eagles.
The 25-5 UMW baseball program began the tournament in the No. 3 slot due to their 13-5 record in conference play. This week, UMW baseball moved into the nation’s top-25 to join Frostburg State and Salisbury University as the three currently ranked Capital Athletic Conference baseball programs. Marymount, sitting in the fourth spot, came into the game with a 9-9 conference record and an overall record of 13-13.
Freshman Joe Thompson started the pitching for the Eagles but ran into some trouble as he allowed two runs in the first inning and another two in the third before exiting the game. Junior Bernie Mayflower entered the game with two outs in the third and ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Eagles’ lack of offensive production changed quickly as sophomore Brian Burns started the inning with a walk and was soon followed by the team’s first hit, with a single by junior Justin Kime. A single pitch later, the UMW single season homerun record holder increased his season total with a blast over the right-centerfield fence up onto the neighboring hill. The UMW fans leapt to their feet as the Marymount fans and MLB scouts in attendance stared in awe.
The Eagles tied up the score in the following inning on a sacrifice fly by Burns to score junior James Sink. Mayflower continued his success as he threw a scoreless fifth. The bottom of the fifth is when the UMW bats came alive and the team erupted for five runs. The Eagles loaded the bases on a single by Kime, Haught reaching on an error and a walk by junior Mitch Moynihan while accumulating two outs. Freshman David Slupek drove in a run on a walk, which was then followed with a double by sophomore Thomas Weaver to drive in Slupek, Moynihan and Haught. Burns followed that at bat with a double to score Weaver, giving them a 9-4 lead.
Junior Tyler Daig came into relief for Mayflower and pitched the remaining two and two-thirds innings while only giving up one run on a single hit. UMW put up three more runs on the board, with one run in the sixth on Sink RBI single and two runs on RBI singles by sophomore Kyle Bynum and junior James Keller.
Eric Jorgenson followed Daig and allowed two earned runs on one hit while pitching the final out of the eighth inning and the first two outs of the ninth. Sophomore Paul McClure came in relief and, after allowing a double, retired the final batter of the game to secure a UMW win, 12-7.
UMW will travel to Frostburg Thursday, April 15 to take on Salisbury University at 4 p.m.