Shepherd struggles but still maintains conference lead
At 27-9 overall, Shepherd has lost seven of its last 11 games. Yet the Rams still maintain a slender lead over the hurrying pack in the Mountain East Conference baseball race.
The closest pursuer is West Virginia State, now 23-9 in conference games and two games behind the Rams.
Shepherd has eight conference games remaining. And all eight of them are at Fairfax Field. This weekend, the Rams face Urbana (Ohio) in consecutive doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. And then next weekend (May 2 and May 3), there are two final conference doubleheaders against invading Fairmont State.
West Virginia State finishes up with four games against Glenville and then four more versus Charleston.
In its six conference games last week, Shepherd finally discarded a five-game losing streak when it downed West Virginia Wesleyan, 8-4, and,10-0, in a mid-week doubleheader played in Buckhannon; and over the past weekend the Rams split a doubleheader on Saturday and did the same in a second doubleheader on Sunday against homestanding West Liberty.
Sam Crater improved his solid pitching record to 8-2 with wins over both West Virginia Wesleyan and West Liberty. Austin Guy beat the Bobcats for his first decision of the season and John Bentley improved to 3-2 when he got the important win over West Liberty in Sunday’s second game.
Shepherd lost a 4-2 decision in Saturday’s nightcap and fell 6-5 in eight innings in Sunday’s opener. Sunday’s loss was particularly galling since the Rams had taken a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning only to commit three errors in the bottom of the inning to allow the game to slip away to three unearned West Liberty runs.
Against the Bobcats, Spencer Wolfe, J.J. Sarty, Daniel Heleine and Tre Porter had home runs.
When Crater silenced the Hilltoppers in a 6-1 Shepherd victory, Wolfe and Matt Wilson homered. In Shepherd’s 10-2 win over West Liberty in Sunday’s nightcap, Wolfe homered again and Sarty, Bryce Shemer and Jacob Carney all collected two hits.
Even in winning four of six games last week, the Rams slipped to fifth in the latest Atlantic Region rankings. Ahead of the Rams are Seton Hill, Mercyhurst and Millersville from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and Winston-Salem State (North Carolina).
Shepherd will be engaged in the Mountain East Conference tournament beginning on May 7 in Beckley. The top six finishers in the final regular season standings qualify for the double-elimination conference tournament.