Rams complete weekend dismissal of West Liberty
Shepherd’s, 2-1, win in Sunday’s first game of what would become another doubleheader sweep of conference opponent West Liberty came on an unearned run and the runners-stranding pitching of Joe Rindone. The second game was a rout, with the Rams managing 16 hits in a 12-2 win that sent Shepherd – alone – to the top of the North Division of the Mountain East Conference.
In the pitcher-owned opener, Shepherd got its second and go-ahead run in the sixth inning when Jacob Carney had a lead-off single that was misplayed in center field, allowing Carney to reach second. Carney tried to steal third . . . and did so when catcher Alex Rojas’ throw sailed into the outfield. Carney stumbled and fell, but got up in time to score ahead of a late throw.
The Rams’ other run came courtesy of JJ Sarty’s solo homer off Yale Hughes, whose six inning, five-hitter deserved a better fate.
Rindone was consistently out of the strike zone for five innings, walking six and hitting three batters . . . but when he threw strikes was all but untouchable by the calm West Liberty bats.
The Hilltoppers left all three batters who were walked in the second. Two hit batsmen and a walk were all stranded in the third. It took the 23rd passed ball of the season by catcher Dalton Haymaker to finally get the Hilltoppers a run. Even in that inning, two more runners (aboard on a walk and hit batsman) were left on base.
The Rams had 25 base runners in the nightcap.
After beating the Hilltoppers in four straight games, the Rams owned a 20-4 conference record and were 24-17 overall. West Liberty was 16-8 in the league and 22-15 overall. Fairmont State with its 14-8 conference record was in third place in the North Division.
Shepherd has only three home dates remaining – this weekend in consecutive doubleheaders versus Notre Dame of Ohio and the last on Sunday, May 7, against Fairmont State in a doubleheader.
Two one-run wins and two mostly comfortable victories had come at West Liberty’s expense.