Nine homers, Nottingham’s cycle crumble Hilltoppers
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherd cannonaded nine home runs and catcher/first baseman Eddie Nottingham hit for the cycle, when the Rams defeated visiting West Liberty, 17-2 and 12-5, in a doubleheader sweep at Fairfax Field last week. The two wins gave Shepherd a 17-0 record at Fairfax Field this season, and moved its overall record to 27-10.
The Rams maintained their lengthy lead in the North Division of the Mountain East Conference, going to 17-3 in league games.
Nottingham went 4-for-4 in the 15-run win in the first game, hitting for the cycle (single, double, triple and home run) and driving in a career-high eight runs with his hitting onslaught.
Other Shepherd homers in the first game came from Brenton Doyle, Daniel Keer and Dalton Stewart.
In its six offensive turns, the Rams landed 12 hits and had a staggering 21 base runners.
The Rams scored in five innings and posted no less than three four-run turns.
Syeed Mahti was 3-for-4 and Jared Carr, Brenton Doyle and Justin Smith all reached base three times. Carr, Doyle, Smith and Nottingham all scored three times.
Mitchell Wilson got the win with five innings of work.
In the 12-5 win, the Rams once were carrying a 12-0 lead behind the starting pitching of Ryan Potts, who had a no-hitter through five innings.
A total of five Shepherd homers were sent over the beckoning fence in all directions. Nottingham opened the scoring with a two-run shot in the first inning. His home run was followed throughout the nightcap by two home runs from Trenton Burgreen, a long no-doubt-about-it blast off a dormitory wall by Carr and Keer’s second homer of the baseball-weather afternoon.
There were 14 Shepherd hits and another 19 base runners cruising around the base paths for the Rams.
Potts wilted some in the sixth, surrendering all five runs and five hits to the struggling Hilltoppers.
Nottingham finished his productive afternoon going 6-for-8 and rising above other .400-plus hitters Carr and Doyle for the first time all season. Nottingham was hitting over .430 after his demolishing of the Hilltoppers. Keer began the day with a .400 batting average but dropped to .389 by the second game’s end.
Wilson’s pitching record read 6-1, and Potts was at 6-2 when West Liberty went back to the Northern Panhandle, with an 8-27 record that included a 7-15 conference mark.