Comeback wins solidify Shepherd’s grip on first place
Shepherd saw its leads slip away in both games of its conference doubleheader against Fairmont State, but then the first-place Rams created multi-run rallies to post 5-3 and 9-5 (10 innings) wins to stay atop the Mountain East standings.
Leading 2-0 in the seven-inning opener, the Rams saw the Fighting Falcons score three times in the fifth inning to take a brief, 3-2, lead.
A three-run uprising the last inning gave the Rams the victory. Unbeaten pitcher Sam Crater (8-0) had another complete game success as he yielded seven hits in going the distance.
In the Shepherd seventh-inning rally, JJ Sarty singled in the tying run and then designated hitter Daniel Heleine doubled down the left field foul line to score Sarty and Tre Porter to move the Rams ahead, 5-3.
Austin Ransom (0-1) took the loss after former Jefferson High pitcher Logan Johnson failed to retire any of the three batters he faced in the definitive seventh-inning rally.
Jacob Carney went 2-for-3, Sarty 2-for-4 and Heleine 1-for-3 as the Rams overcame a 0-for-10 showing from the bottom four batters in their lineup.
In the nightcap, Shepherd led 3-0 before Fairmont erupted for four runs against Rams’ starter John Bentley in the fifth. Bentley was replaced by freshman Tyler Mister, who blanked the Fighting Falcons over the next five innings to get his second win against no losses.
Mister allowed only two hits and one earned run (that coming in the tenth after the Rams led, 9-4). He walked only one and had two strikeouts.
Batting in the top of the 10th with the score even at 4-4, the Rams had a five-run splurge when Carney had an RBI and both Sarty and Mike Brown contributed two-run singles.
Former Washington High pitcher Mark McKee (2-3) suffered the loss.
Carney was 3-for-6 and scored two runs. Sarty was 3-for-4, scored two times, had two RBIs and stole five bases. Brown was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and Hamel was 2-for-5.
Shepherd totaled 10 stolen bases in the nightcap. Sarty’s five steals left him with a Shepherd single-season record of 33 for the 2016 campaign.
The Rams were 32-12 overall and 23-7 in Mountain East games. Fairmont was 10-20 in Mountain East games.