Rams douse Kutzstown with downpour of hits, runs
As they’ve said in baseball for decades, “The Rams got well.”
Beginning play in a swirling wind that sent clouds of dust and the hats of players flying away throughout the afternoon, the Rams swept a conference doubleheader from the Golden Bears, winning convincingly 8-2 and 15-7.
It was a defining seven-run fourth inning that gave Shepherd its win in the opener. It was just the beginning of what would mushroom to a total of 55 runs in what quickly became a four-game sweep by the Rams.
Before Saturday’s home run firing was completed, Shepherd had seven of its hitters take turns taming the Kutztown pitching staff.
Cole Daugherty, Caleb Walls, Jared Carr, Dalton Stewart, Joey Schwartz, Daniel Keer and Zach Doss combined to go 46-for-88 in the two-day offensive show. Walls, Keer and Carr each had eight hits, including three home runs from Walls and two from Keer. Cole Daugherty also had two homers from his leadoff spot in the order.
Keer drove in eight runs in the 22-8 win in the first game on Saturday at friendly Fairfax Field in Shepherdstown. That was the win highlighted by a 14-run Shepherd fourth inning and two home runs each for Keer and Walls and Stewart’s homer. Shepherd improved its current winning streak to five games with an 11-3 win in the nightcap.
Doss, who was mired in an 0-for-17 hole to begin the season, went 6-for-10 in the four-game set and had a home run himself in breaking free from the bonds of his hitless ordeal.
Players finding three-hit games were Tommy Gibson (twice), Carr (twice) Daugherty, Walls, Keer and Doss. Players driving in at least four runs in a game were Walls, Keer and Doss.
Now 7-5 in conference play, the Rams will see East Division co-favorite West Chester this weekend for what is scheduled to be another four-game series. The Golden Rams, Millersville and East Stroudsburg still remain in front of Shepherd in the conference standings. Coach Matt McCarty will likely send out starting pitchers Steve Bowley, Tanner Dixon, Mitchell Wilson and Nick Trabacchi, with Trevor Sprinkle a possibility — all of whom benefitted from last week’s cannonading — against the traditionally strong Golden Rams.
The Shepherd softball Rams saw their long win streak evaporate in a four-game series with Kutztown. The division-leading Bears swept a conference doubleheader by scores of 10-6 and 5-4 last Friday at Sara Cree Field on the Shepherd campus. And the next afternoon in Kutztown the teams divided a doubleheader with Kutztown grabbing the opener, 8-2, and the Rams coming back to salvage a split with a 10-2 mercy-rule shortened win.
Shepherd went into the series with a 14-1 overall record and was unbeaten in PSAC play. After the weekend, Kutztown had emerged as the East Division leader with a 13-3 record compared to West Chester’s 8-2 mark and Shepherd’s 11-3 record.
A seven-run sixth inning provided Kutztown with enough offense to the series opener. Nicole Purtell and Cameron Davis hit homers for the Rams. In Kutztown’s 5-4 win, Shepherd had Allison Baker with three hits and Ashley Burger and Kylie Condon with two hits. Kutztown actually trailed 4-2 but notched the game’s last three runs to get the win.
Davis homered and had two hits in the 8-2 loss.
A five-run third inning sustained Shepherd in its victory in Saturday’s nightcap. Purtell went 3-for-3 and had three RBIs, while Davis, Burger and Baker each collected two hits.
Hannah Ruffner moved her pitching record to 4-0 with her five inning, three-hitter.
West Chester is this week’s spotlighted opponent for four games, as the Rams meet still another nationally recognized team.