By Ronald Hanaki
SC Staff Writer
On Friday afternoon, April 18, the East Stroudsburg University Warriors met the Bloomsburg University Huskies in the first of two doubleheaders at ESU’s Mitterling Field. The Warriors split Friday’s home doubleheader against the Huskies.
ESU lost the first game 1-0, but won the second game 8-3. Warrior senior Chris Knott collected his 200 career hit when he got a leadoff single in the fourth inning of the first doubleheader.
The first game of the doubleheader featured a matchup of two pitching aces and proved the old adage that pitching is indeed two-thirds of baseball. ESU senior Ryan Lubreski came into the game with a 5-1 record to face Bloomburg senior right-hander Casey Cooperman.
Neither the Warriors nor the Huskies could scratch across a run as both pitchers were at the top of their games and shut out their respective opponents for the first six innings.
That would change in the top of the seventh inning.
With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Bloomsburg junior third baseman Eric Frain hit a double.
After Bloomsburg senior outfielder Nick Mazza lined out to shortstop, Bloomsburg freshman catcher Damin Muth hit what would prove to be the two-out game-winning RBI single to push across the first run of the game. Bloomsburg was up 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
However, the rally monkey was not kind to the Warriors as they went down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.
ESU redshirt-sophomore utility player Matt Walewski grounded out to second.
ESU senior first baseman Mike Tenaglia grounded out to third. Freshman Ian Allen was ESU’s last hope, but he flied out to right field to end the game.Thus, there was no joy in East Stroudsburg – mighty Casey Cooperman had shut them out.
Bloomburg’s Cooperman pitched a complete game shutout. He allowed 5 hits and only allowed one ESU player past second base.
ESU’s only legitimate scoring threat was in the bottom of the fourth inning. ESU redshirt-senior catcher Nico Delerme reached third base, but a Cooperman double play ended the inning. Because of his pitching performance, Casey Cooperman was named the PSAC East Division Pitcher of the Week.
Warrior Ryan Lubreski took the hard luck loss. His record dropped to 5-2 on the season.
The first game of the doubleheader was all about defense while the second game of the doubleheader proved to be all about offense for ESU.
The Huskies drew first blood in the top of the first inning on redshirt-junior second baseman Tim Ravel’s bunt-single. The Warriors would respond by coming down on Huskie junior southpaw Tyler Hill like Thor’s Hammer in the bottom of the second inning.
The Warriors got to bat around and scored 5 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk and 1 hit-batsman.
The Huskies would score two runs of their own in the top of the third inning to make the score 5-3, but the Warriors added 3 more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning when Nico Delerme hit a bases-clearing double to make the final score 8-3 and secure a split with the Huskies.
Warrior redshirt-sophomore pitcher Matt Festa would go the distance for the complete game win. Festa gave up 3 runs on 6 hits with 2 strikeouts. The Warriors are now 26-13 overall and 12-10 in PSAC conference play.
The Warriors renewed acquaintances with the Huskies for a second doubleheader in Bloomsburg on Saturday.
Saturday’s doubleheader pitting the Warriors and the Huskies ended with another split. Both games went into extra innings with the Warriors losing the first game 7-6 in 8 innings but winning the second game 1-0 again in 8 innings. ESU is now 27-14 overall and 13-11 in PSAC conference play.
With 4 games left, the defending PSAC champion Warriors remain two games ahead of both Kutztown and Shippensburg for fourth place in PSAC’s East division.
The top 4 teams in the PSAC East division will qualify for the PSAC Tournament to be played in Butler, PA on April 30.
ESU’s baseball team will return to the field against Kutztown in Kutztown for the first of two doubleheaders this Friday.
The second of two doubleheaaders against Kutztown will be played at ESU’s Mitterling Field on Saturday. This Saturday is also Senior Day, Alumi Day, and Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Day.
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