By John Reed
SC Staff Writer
The Warriors (21-10, 9-9) entered the weekend’s four-game home stand with the hopes of actually playing some baseball. ESU ran into a string of bad luck over the last two weeks as they’ve seen six games postponed—including the first portion of the home and home against the Mansfield Mountaineers.
Friday’s doubleheader at Mansfield was moved to Sunday afternoon at Mitterling Field, giving the Warriors a chance to beat up on a sub-par PSAC opponent four times on their home turf.
Game 1 – L 7-0
The Warriors continued their Jekyll & Hyde performance in recent doubleheaders as Mansfield (3-17, 2-10) put on a dominating display with a 7-0 victory in the first game.
Mansfield’s starting pitcher—junior right-hander Tommy Alexander—tossed a gem as he one-hit the Warriors to polish off a complete game shutout.
ESU didn’t help their cause as they went down in consecutive order for the first two innings, and junior Nick Rabasco hit into an inning-ending double play in the third. The Warriors’ defense imploded early on when they committed at least one error in the first three innings, totaling four for the game.
ESU’s four errors were the most since a five-error win against Chowan in 2014.
Once the dust settled after the third, the Warriors found themselves down by seven and still looking for their first hit.
ESU threatened the Mountaineers’ lead in the fifth with a leadoff walk and their only hit of the contest—a single—to put runners in scoring position.
After redshirt junior Drew Hercik grounded out to second and freshman Steven Zimmerman, Jr. walked, the bases were loaded for second baseman Nick Rabasco.
Rabasco grounded out to first to end the inning, but for the first time, the Warriors showed signs of life offensively.
ESU continued to pressure Mansfield in the sixth as they again had runners in scoring position, but the Warrior’s bats couldn’t find an answer to Alexander.
Dylan Tamecki—playing as the DH—grounded out to short ending the inning and stranding center fielder Casey Saverio on third.
Ninety feet was the closest the Warriors would get to home heading into the final frame.
Alexander rekindled his early-inning mojo and finished off the Warriors with a quick 1-2-3 inning.
Game 2 – W 9-2
Things started differently in the nightcap for the Warriors with a 9-2 victory that saw the offense come early and often. This time around, it took ESU only one batter—third baseman Jay Young—before getting their first hit.
Casey Saverio followed with a hit by pitch that set the table nicely for Dylan Tamecki’s three-run home run.
Tamecki’s jack was just the spark the Warriors needed and took the scoring pressure off as ESU was able to get on the board first.
The offense continued to hum along in the bottom of the second when center fielder Casey Saverio drew a walk and stole second to get into scoring position.
A base knock by right fielder Ian Allen plated Saverio as the hits just kept on coming.
The bottom of the third started much like the first with left fielder Matt Walewski singling to lead off the inning followed by shortstop Drew Hercik drawing a hit by pitch.
With men on first and second, it looked like the Warriors were going to break the game open, but two quick outs seemed to put a damper on the rout.
Second baseman Aden Tully took to the plate and connected for his only hit in the game—a bases-clearing double—that drove in both Walewski and Hercik.
With the offense spotting him six runs through three innings, junior pitcher Brandon Holup had no problems taking command and shutting down the Mountaineers.
Holup pitched six strong innings, struck out seven, walked two, and only gave up one unearned run.
Mansfield’s lone run against Holup came in the top of the fourth when the Mountaineers’ catcher Dave Glueck reached safely on an error, and Holup walked DH Zephan Kash.
A passed ball put men on the corners, and pinch hitter Wes Custer hit a sac fly to plate Glueck.
This small victory for Mansfield was short-lived because the Warriors pushed three more runs across the plate in the bottom of the sixth.
Three straight singles by the Warriors led to the first run, and after a double steal, Tamecki hit a sac fly to bring in another. Steven Zimmerman, Jr. hit a sac bunt to score the third run, and the rout was on.
Once the bats started connecting, it was contagious. The top of the order put on a hitting clinic, with one through five belting seven hits, scoring eight runs, and driving in six of the team’s nine RBI.
So, the Warriors split the first doubleheader against Mansfield.
Game 3 – L 6-5
ESU opened its Sunday doubleheader against the Mountaineers with what looked like another rout.
The Warriors’ potent offense—coupled with pitcher Ian Allen’s ability to get out of a couple of early-inning jams—had them up 4-1 through four innings.
It wouldn’t last. Mansfield put up three runs in the bottom of the fifth by playing small ball and getting some help from a Warrior’s error, which allowed them to plate two unearned runs.
The game came down to each team’s last three outs.
Allen led off the top of the seventh with a single and proceeded to steal both second and third. With Dylan Tamecki—the PSAC East Baseball Athlete of the Week—up at the plate, it was a foregone conclusion that the Warriors would again grab the lead.
Just as expected, Tamecki singled and Allen scored, which gave ESU a 5-4 lead with three outs between them and victory.
Sophomore pitcher Tyler Eckman came in to close the door on a comeback, but managed a third of an inning before giving up two runs—one earned—as the Mountaineers rallied. Mansfield again took the first game and the apparent momentum heading into the nightcap.
Game 4 – W 19-12
The Warriors rallied in the second game by unleashing their potent offense to the tune of 19 runs on 22 hits.
ESU’s top five batters put on a hitting clinic as they combined for 18 of the Warriors’ 22 total hits, scored 15 runs, and knocked in 15 runs.
The standout star was Warriors’ outfielder Casey Saverio, who hit for the cycle—ESU’s second in the last decade—to lead the offensive charge.
Saverio got the hardest hit—the triple—out of the way in the first inning as he knocked in Jay Young for his first RBI.
He then added a double and a single in the Warriors’ six-run fourth inning, bringing him a home run shy of the cycle.
It took him until the Warriors’ last inning at the plate, but Saverio jacked a two-run homer, plating Jay Young again, and running the score to 19-12.
Saverio wasn’t the only standout as Dylan Tamecki belted two more home runs and knocked in a team-high five RBI.
The Warriors displayed a steely resolve for the second day in a row as they stormed back again to answer the Mountaineers’ Game 1 victories.
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