Shepherd rides Wilson’s pitching to lone win
SHEPHERDSTOWN — With a sprinkling of new faces in its batting order and mostly familiar pitchers working its first three games, Shepherd began the 2020 season with a win and two losses at Pembroke in North Carolina. The Rams have joined the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference after years of doing well in the Mountain East Conference.
For some time now, Shepherd has opened its season against UNC Pembroke and USC-Aiken. Finding wins against teams positioned in the South in the early going has been difficult.
This year, the Rams have been selected to finish fifth in the nine-team East Division of the PSAC. Mercyhurst, positioned in the West Division, finished second in the nation last season. Shepherd faces Mercyhurst in two games in Wilson, NC and those games do not count in the conference standings.
In its win over Pembroke, it was starting pitcher Mitchell Wilson going seven innings and allowing only two hits and three walks while fanning seven. Wilson had an 8-2 record in 2019. Eric O’Brien got credit for a save with two innings of work. He allowed a solo home run for Pembroke’s second run.
Dalton Stewart, who had two home runs in the three-game series, and Jared Carr, who had two doubles, led the Shepherd nine-hit offense. Both Stewart and Carr are returnees from last season.
Other players from the 2019 team getting starts in the win were designated hitter Joe Burack and shortstop Trenton Burgreen. The first-year Rams in the starting lineup were first baseman Joey Schwartz, third basemen Joey Goldsmith, catcher Zach Doss, second baseman Easy Goita and outfielder Brennan Holmes.
In its season opener, the Rams dropped a 5-2 decision to Pembroke even though starting pitcher Steve Bowley did not allow any earned runs in his four innings of work.
The game was tied at 2-2 through six innings, but the Braves broke through in the seventh with Bobby Dixon’s three-run homer deciding the winner. Shepherd managed only three hits in the nine-inning game.
In the rubber game of the season-opening series, Pembroke won 10-3, scoring five earned runs in four innings off Rams’ starter Nick Trabacchi. Both relievers Ryan Marketell and Cole Dunn followed Trabacchi with Dunn failing to record any outs and surrendering three earned runs.
Shepherd, which has won at least 30 games for six straight seasons, tries USC-Aiken three times in South Carolina this weekend.
Against Pembroke, Shepherd managed a .177 team batting average and struck out 41 times in the three games.
The temperatures in the three-game series at Pembroke were 47 degrees, 39 degrees and 59 degrees.