Doyle goes 11-for-14 as Rams collapse Hilltoppers
With outfielder Brenton Doyle going 11-for-14 in the four-game weekend series against West Liberty, Shepherd extended its winning streak to nine games by taking conference doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday. Doyle raised his batting average to .427 with his prodigious weekend hitting output.
Shepherd will carry a 20-4 Mountain East Conference record to Notre Dame (Ohio) for two doubleheaders this weekend. The Rams are 26-12 overall. Notre Dame is 13-11 in conference games.
The Rams began the successful stay in the Northern Panhandle when reliable Ryan Potts pitched a complete-game four-hitter in a 5-1 win in Saturday’s series opener. Potts fanned 11 and walked only one.
Doyle’s torrid four-game set began with a 3-for-3 afternoon that also saw him score three runs. Nick Atkinson had a solo home run and scored twice, while Eddie Nottingham and Justin Smith each had two RBIs.
Home runs from Doyle, Christian Hamel and Smith helped the Rams win Saturday’s nightcap, 10-4. Shepherd had only a 5-4 lead after five innings before it erupted in the sixth for five more runs.
Atkinson went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, Doyle was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Hamel was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Logan Marz improved his record to 2-0 with 4.1 innings of work. He yielded all four Hilltopper runs but only four hits. Mitchell Johnson relieved Marz in the fifth and blanked the Hilltoppers the rest of the way to earn his first save of the season.
On Sunday, Smith received credit for the first-game win, moving his record to 6-2, in a 9-5 win that saw the Rams collect 11 hits.
Brian McCourt was 3-for-3 and Doyle was 3-for-4. Doyle drove in three runs and Atkinson scored three runs. Smith went five innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs.
In Shepherd’s 13-2 victory in the nightcap, the Rams had 13 hits and catapulted to an 8-0 lead after only one inning.
Doyle’s two-run triple and Nottingham’s two-run single were the most important hits of that first-inning explosion.
Doyle was 3-for-4, Hamel 2-for-4 and Nottingham 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Chase Hoffman scored twice and McCourt drove in two runs for the Shepherd offense.
Adam Miller authored six shutout innings, limiting West Liberty to just three hits while fanning seven. Miller improved his record to 3-2.
Shepherd finished the four-game sweep of the Hilltoppers with three regulars batting over .400. McCourt, who inherited the designated hitter spot in the lineup after about 25 games, is batting .429, Doyle is at .427 and Nottingham shows a .414 batting average.
Other regulars with a .300-plus batting average are Smith at .388, Hamel at .361, Atkinson at .354 and Eric Sloper at .320.
Potts shows a miniscule 2.18 ERA with his 7-1 record.
Shepherd will take a .330 team batting average to Notre Dame, trying to continue to offset its 5.63 team earned run average.
On Tuesday, the Rams have a 3 p.m. game at Fairfax Field against non-conference opponent Shippensburg. And on May 4, the Rams have a home-field finale with a scheduled doubleheader against conference rival Fairmont at 1 p.m.