Shepherd improves overall record to 28-10
By beating West Liberty in both games of last Saturday’s doubleheader and then winning the opener of Sunday’s twinbill, Shepherd improved its overall record to 28-10 even though freshman pitcher Colin Benner was roughed up in a 12-4 loss to the Hilltoppers in the last of the four-game weekend, Mountain East Conference series.
Shepherd stood at 19-5 in the North Division of the league — well ahead of Notre Dame (14-10), Wheeling Jesuit (12-12), Urbana (11-13) and West Liberty (11-13), the other four teams in contention for the three conference tournament berths allotted to the North Division.
Sam Crater went to 6-0 on the season when the Rams took the series opener, 5-1. Crater pitched six innings, allowing seven hits.
Tre Porter homered and was 2-for-3, while Mike Brown was 2-for-4 for the winning Rams.
In Saturday’s 13-1 win, left-hander John Bentley improved his record to 6-2 with a nine-inning, complete game effort in which he allowed only six hits and fanned four.
JJ Sarty went 5-for-6 and Jacob Carney was 4-for-4. Brandon Kirk had a 3-for-3 second game and Brown chipped in with two more hits and a home run.
It took a six-run last inning for the Rams to take an 8-3 win in Sunday’s seven-inning opener against the reeling Hilltoppers.
Sarty went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Ron Farley had two hits as did Daniel Heleine. Chase Hoffman drilled his second home run of the season.
A.J. Stead went the first five innings with Jamie Driver getting credit for the win with two innings of work.
West Liberty helped itself in the standings with a 12-4 win over Benner in the series finale. Benner lasted only 2.1 innings and faced seven batters.
Porter clubbed his 16th homer of the season in the loss. Carney, Porter, Farley and Brown all had two of Shepherd’s 11 hits.
West Virginia State, the league’s tournament champions in both 2014 and 2015, improved its league record to 18-6 and solidified its lead in the South Division, which also supplies three teams for the double-elimination conference tournament.
The Rams are at Notre Dame (Ohio) for a pair of conference doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday of this week.
Shepherd’s last home date of the season comes on Friday, May 6, when it faces Fairmont State in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
Fairmont, listing in last place in the North Division, has local players Fraser Brown and Logan Johnson (Jefferson High) and Zac Burch, Ryan French, Mark McKee and Dorian Hetzel (Washington High). Washington’s Drew Hetzel has been injured and is out for the rest of the season. Phillip Longnecker (Hedgesville) and Maverick Keller (Musselman) are also on Coach Phil Caruso’s last-place club.