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Shepherd bats silenced in Atlantic Regional

By Staff | May 27, 2016

Even with its lineup all but completely silenced in the four games it had in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region baseball tournament, Shepherd still managed to win two games before being eliminated on Sunday when Mercyhurst (Pennsylvania) inflicted a 4-1 loss on the Rams.

Shepherd went 2-2 in the seven-team tournament and was still alive after West Chester, East Stroudsburg, Seton Hill and Chowan had been eliminated. Mercyhurst and Millersville (Pennsylvania) were the last two teams standing with Millersville being unbeaten in the tournament.

The Rams began the tournament on May 19 with a 3-0 loss to Seton Hill in a game where Shepherd was limited to just one hit.

Sam Crater pitched well enough to win most nine-inning games, but his teammates were so limited they produced just the one Jacob Carney hit in 27 official at-bats.

The loss was Crater’s first of the season after nine wins.

Staving off elimination in the next round, the Rams used the quality eight-inning pitching of AJ Stead to beat West Chester, 4-2. Stead improved his record to 8-1. There were six Shepherd hits (the team was 6-for-32) and JJ Sarty had his only two hits of the four-game tournament.

In the next elimination game, Shepherd outpitched East Stroudsburg and won, 3-1, as John Bentley kept the Rams alive with his eight innings of work. Bentley moved his overall record to 7-3.

The Rams managed only four hits in the win over East Stroudsburg. Carney was 2-for-4 as the only player with more than one hit.

After shoving East Stroudsburg out of the tournament on Sunday afternoon, the Rams had to face Mercyhurst on Sunday night.

While Jamie Driver, who had a save against East Stroudsburg and West Chester, stopped the Lakers for the most part, Shepherd could manage only five hits (going 5-for-29) itself and the one run it scored wasn’t enough.

Carney was 3-for-4 and was Shepherd’s only hitter to do much in the tournament, going 6-for-16 overall.

As a team, Shepherd was just 16-for-120 in the Regional . . . a .133 batting average.

Tre Porter, Ron Farley, Daniel Heleine, Mike Brown, Christian Hamel, Chase Hoffman and Zane Bard combined for just five hits between them and had a .064 batting average as a group — going 5-for-78. Heleine struck out nine times in 16 at-bats.

For the season, the Rams won 39 games to tie the school record for the number of wins in a single season.

There was the first-ever Mountain East Conference tournament championship after the Rams went 4-0 in the Beckley-based, double elimination event.

The Mountain East title gave Shepherd an automatic bid to the Atlantic Regional.