Shepherd dispatches Urbana with its offense carrying the load
A pair of first-inning scoring outbursts carried Shepherd to twin successes on Sunday as the Rams moved past Urbana, 8-2 and 10-5, in a conference doubleheader that kept the Mountain East standings lead in Shepherdstown, just ahead of hard-charging West Virginia State.
A four-run first inning in the opener made winning pitcher Bryan DiRosario’s afternoon much easier. When Tre Porter’s routine outfield fly was lost in the “high sky” by an Urbana outfielder, three runs scored.
The Rams added an unearned run in the second and were back on the scoreboard in the fourth when Spencer Wolfe slugged a two-run home run.
Even though they left at least one runner stranded in every turn, the Rams managed another run in the sixth on Bryce Shemer’s two-out, RBI single.
The Rams left 11 runners stranded in their six turns.
Porter and J.J. Sarty each had two hits and Shemer, Sarty and Matt Wilson all reached base three times.
DiRosario yielded six hits and three walks in his six innings of work.
Shepherd starting pitcher John Bentley was gifted with six first-inning runs in the second game. Bentley then rolled through the first five innings with a no-hitter. Consecutive singles from Sarty, Wilson, Wolfe and Dom Wyshinski highlighted the uprising. A pair of sacrifice flies played a role in the inning where the Rams batted 11 men.
Bentley had faced only 16 batters through five innings, but then saw his no-hitter fade into the western sky like the setting sun as several hits and four unearned runs made the once-comfortable setting a little uneasy for the home side.
When the Rams added two more runs in the sixth, a more convincing lead had been restored.
Shepherd’s overall record was 32-10 and its conference ledger was at 31-9.
Only a regular season-closing weekend at Fairfax Field against Fairmont State is ahead on the dwindling schedule. After a pair of doubleheaders against the Falcons, Shepherd goes to the conference tournament in Beckley that begins on May 7.
The conference champion does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region tournament, but Shepherd’s overall record was such in 2014 that it received a bid to that event.
First-inning fireworks boosted the Rams to both wins on Sunday. And their pitchers rode the cushions they were provided to wins over the Blue Knights.