Mountain East pitching no mystery to Rams
Through Monday’s doubleheader sweep of conference rival Charleston, Shepherd had won 11 straight games and stared down at its pursuers with a 14-2 record.
There were five regulars with batting averages that have soared over the .400 mark and outfielder/infielder Jacob Carney was hitting an even .500. Two others were above the .300 level and the Rams had two starting pitchers (Jamie Driver and Bryan DiRosario) with 4-0 records.
Charleston had twice been dispatched on Monday where the Rams responded to the meek Mountain East pitching with a combined 31 hits in their 10-5 and 16-1 poundings of the Golden Eagles.
Carney, J.J.Sarty, Matt Wilson, Tre Porter and Daniel Heleine all carried .400-plus batting averages. And Spencer Wolfe and Sam Crater were hitting far better than .300.
Shepherd swept the four-game series against the Golden Eagles.
In its combined 12 offensive turns against Charleston on Monday, the Rams got two home runs from Wilson and one each from Sarty and Heleine. Carney, who was 6-for-7 in the destruction of Charleston pitching, scored seven runs. Sarty collected six hits in eight trips and scored six times. Wolfe had five hits and drove in eight runs on the cool, crisp afternoon.
Hardly outdone by any of the others were Wilson, who was 4-for-5, drove in six runs and scored five times and Heleine, who had four hits, scored four times and was on base five times.
The Rams had six runs after two innings in the opener. They topped that with nine runs after two turns in the nightcap.
Shepherd’s team batting average after 16 games had soared to .360. On Monday, the Rams had a seven-hit inning, a pair of five-run innings and two innings where they scored four runs.
The beneficiaries of all the offensive fireworks were strike-throwing pitchers John Bentley and DiRosario. Bentley was called on to replace first-game starter Austin Hale, whose control deserted him and he couldn’t hold a 6-1 lead. In his 4.2 innings of winning relief work, Bentley allowed only two hits and two walks, quieting the Charleston offense while Shepherd noisily rebuilt the lead Hale had almost wasted away.
The sophomore left-hander fanned five and yielded only one run when he was ahead, 10-4, in the seventh.
DiRosario had a 9-1 lead after just two innings. He went five innings, yielding just three hits and one walk. Along with four strikeouts, the senior right-hander permitted only the one run and it was earned.
As the Shepherd players groomed the field after gouging Charleston pitching for 31 hits, 26 runs and an astonishing 41 base runners in only 12 offensive turns, they awaited atop the league standings for Wednesday’s conference doubleheader against visiting West Virginia Wesleyan.