Bentley blanks Urbana Late rallies get Rams past Urbana in doubleheader in doubleheader split
Tre Porter’s two-run homer and JJ Sarty’s grand slam home run broke Shepherd free from stubborn Urbana as the Rams shattered a tie score with six late-game runs to beat the Blue Knights, 11-5, in the first game of a conference twinbill . . . and then trailing by a run in the eighth inning of the nightcap, Shepherd scored four times to dispatch the Ohioans, 9-6, to stay atop the North Division of the Mountain East Conference.
The Rams were 19-9 overall and 12-4 in the conference, while Urbana left sunny Fairfax Field with a 10-21 overall mark that included a 5-11 record in the North Division.
Neither team could find a reliable pitcher that could give them more than a few innings of strikes and outs. In fact, Shepherd won the second game even though their four pitchers allowed a combined 12 walks or hit batsmen.
Urbana stranded 12 runners in the second game and Shepherd stranded 10 itself.
Shepherd’s Sam Crater, an 11-game winner last season, had pitched only 16 innings all year before blanking Urbana in his two innings of the nightcap. Crater got credit for the win . . . but it was mostly the top of the Shepherd batting order that lifted the Rams to victory.
Sarty was on base five times, had eight total bases and a solo homer. Porter was on base three times and had two hits. Jacob Carney scored two runs and had two hits. After the Rams had eased ahead, 7-6, in the eighth, Daniel Heleine hit a two-run homer for his first hit of the afternoon.
Shepherd’s early 5-1 lead failed to hold up in the opener, and with the score at 5-5 in the fifth, Porter lofted a long, two-run home run into the trees in left to bring the Rams a 7-5 lead. Porter had four RBIs in the game.
In the Shepherd sixth, Sarty hammered a grand slam home run that plated Chase Hoffman, Carney and Porter — all of whom had walked or were hit by a pitch.
Shepherd received seven walks/hit batsmen in winning the opener.
Hoffman was on base three times with two doubles in the first game.
Urbana’s pitching basically struggled throughout, especially closer Adam Ramirez in the second game. Ramirez inherited a one-run lead and faced seven men with four of them scoring before he could extricate himself from the mess he created.
The Rams had 20 hits and 36 base runners in their 14 turns on the warming afternoon.
This weekend, it’s Wheeling Jesuit in Shepherdstown for consecutive 1 p.m. doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.
Porter has moved near second place in Shepherd’s single-season, historical annals with his 12 home runs in 28 games this year . . . but prodigious Nathan Minnich is still in the distance as the all-time leader.