Rams bat around 3 times, have seven-run innings
The rain quit falling. The thin sunshine brought passable temperatures. And Shepherd’s offense produced several seven-run turns.
Playing its first Mountain East Conference games at home, the Rams scored in bunches and held off Glenville in the nightcap of a doubleheader sweep.
In winning the games 11-4 and 14-12, Shepherd extended its unbeaten conference record to 6-0 and dimmed the memory of its clouded 2-10 start to the 2017 season.
A non-stop second inning where the Rams had nine consecutive batters reach base colored the opening 11-4 win blue and yellow in quick order.
Ram right-hander Joe Rindone was the benefactor of the huge inning that brought him a 7-1 lead.
Brandon Kirk lofted a three-run homer that landed near the base of Shaw Hall to provided the inning’s most remembered hit.
Rindone had a 9-1 lead before being solved for three Pioneer runs in his last inning of work.
Kirk sent his second homer off the wall of Shaw Hall for two more Shepherd runs. He finished with a career-high five RBIs.
Besides the long-ball exhibition put on by Kirk, the Rams had Jacob Carney reach base four times, Chase Hoffman and Ron Farley each have two RBIs and Dalton Haymaker get two hits. Rindone was the winner with his five innings of starting pitching.
The second game was more wild and woolly, with wide mood swings in both dugouts and Shepherd’s offensive hit production outpaced by the Pioneers.
Even though the Rams sent 10 men to the plate in the second and another 10 to the plate in the fourth, they almost lost.
It seemed as the Glenville hit total reached 20 against AJ Stead, Ryan Simpson and eventual winner Dan Galati that the Pioneers were going to erase 8-4 and 12-6 deficits and somehow win the day.
Only Galati had any success against the saber-wielding Pioneers. He got the last nine outs and still had the tying runs stationed on second and third when he fanned overmatched Mason Stacy for the final out.
Shepherd’s seven-run second was punctuated by two-run home runs from Ron Farley, Daniel Heleine and Reid Entsminger.
Shepherd’s bat-around, four-run fourth showed hits from Chase Hoffman, Jacob Carney, and Heleine as well as four walks gifted by two Pioneer throwers.
Leading 12-6, the Rams were caught by six runs off Simpson, who was scalded by the nine hits gleaned off him.
It was back to 12-12 when the Pioneers got four straight men on base with no outs in the seventh against Simpson. Galati restored order by retiring the three men he saw in the inning.
Hoffman made a run-saving, diving catch of a line drive in the eighth . . . and then the Pioneers got their first two batters in the ninth on base.
After a successful sacrifice bunt, Galati forced Logan Henderson to pop out to Hoffman and fanned Stacy to end the unnecessary drama.
Carney had an RBI hit in the eighth to push the Rams in front, 13-12, and then Hoffman drilled a mammoth home run in the eighth for a two-run lead.
Galati won by allowing two hits and a walk in his three innings.
Shepherd had not allowed its offensive fireworks to go unrewarded.
And it had a six-game win streak – all against Mountain East teams – to move ahead in its six-team division of the league.