Pansch gets third win, Rams split with Bobcats
Generally known for his fastball, Shepherd pitcher Ryan Pansch used a curveball as his strikeout pitch on Saturday against West Virginia Wesleyan.
Of the seven strikeouts he recorded in a route-going performance as the Rams defeated the visiting Bobcats, Pansch got third strikes five times with his curveball.
Shepherd built a six-run lead in the first five shutout frames Pansch recorded, before finally winning, 7-4.
Pansch was repeatedly solved in the last two innings when the Bobcats scored all four runs . . . but he was effective enough to end it when the bases were loaded on a ground out to Chase Hoffman.
Pansch moved to 3-0 on the season as the Rams posted a seventh straight win.
A five-hit, four-run second lifted Shepherd to a seemingly comfortable 6-0 lead.
Chase Hoffman had a two-run homer and Brenton Doyle had two RBIs after his two at-bats.
Brian McCourt had scored two of the six runs and had two hits.
The Bobcats greeted Pansch with two singles on his first three pitches.
But then he retired 16 men in a row . . . and took a 6-0 lead into the sixth.
In that inning, Hoffman made a nifty defensive play and Doyle in right kept another run from scoring by holding a hit to a single with quick fielding.
Pansch nimbly fielded a one-hop grounder back at him to keep the Bobcat run total to just one.
But the seventh saw an uprising that threatened all of Shepherd’s lead.
Five hits and a Pansch walk had already produced three runs when Ryan Kiser batted with bases loaded.
Pansch induced Kiser to ground out to Hoffman at third . . . and he had a complete game nine-hitter . . . and a win.
Shepherd could manage only four hits off Hunter Rotarius (7.1 innings) and Griffin Roe (1.2 innings) in the nightcap.
The Bobcats scored six times off Ram left-hander John Bentley in maintaining an early lead and winning 8-2.
The loss snapped Shepherd’s seven-game win streak and left the Rams with a 7-1 conference record.
Rotarius never faced more than four batters in any inning as he had a 6-0 lead after five innings. The Rams had only a first-inning double from JJ Sarty to show for their efforts through five.
Sarty poked a solo homer to left in the sixth and Ron Farley added a late RBI with a bloop single in the eighth.
But the Rams were mostly muzzled by the strikes with his fastball and breaking pitch that Rorarius showed them.
Shepherd’s most memorable effort in the second-game loss came from the five-inning pitching by reliever Ryan Potts.
Potts walked only two and surrendered four hits in his five innings.
He allowed solo homers to Wyatt Adkins and John Koon, but had yielded only one hit in his first four, mostly effective innings.
Shepherd is scheduled to play a conference doubleheader today against visiting Virginia-Wise, beginning at 1 p.m. at Fairfax Field.
The weekend had seen the Rams dodge Friday’s morning rain, get comfortable conditions for the doubleheader split on Saturday and move through the fourth of the league schedule with a 7-1 record.