ESU continued their stellar 2016 campaign by defeating the Shippensburg Raiders on Alumni and Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Day.
The two closely contested games ended in scores of 11-8 and 3-1.
The Warriors put on strong performances for their fans. Two highlights of the game were the first pitches thrown by current ESU student and swim-team member Kelly Buyaskas and ESU fan and honorable team member for Sunday Brayden Walsh.
The first game of the day featured hot offenses for both the Warriors and the Raiders, but Robert Bennie’s grand slam proved to be the difference as the Warriors rallied from a three run deficit in the fourth inning.
The second game showcased a change of pace as fans witnessed Brandon Holup dominate the Shippensburg hitters, allowing only one run in a 3-1 victory.
Bennie’s grand slam was part of a six RBI performance in game one for the Warriors. Bennie went two for three at the plate.
Christian Rishel also swung a hot bat as the designated hitter went three for four, scoring two runs and adding an RBI.
The Warriors had seven batters notch hits in the effort.
Although the Warriors vaulted themselves in front of the Raiders after a seven-run fourth inning, the Raiders were relentless and fought to remain in the game, scoring six runs between the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Raiders were led by Jake Kennedy, who hit the only home run for the Raiders in the first game and went two for two at the plate and drew a walk, while scoring twice and finishing the game with three RBI.
The game came to pitching down the stretch. ESU starting pitcher Cody Klinger was awarded the win although he allowed seven earned runs through five innings. He scattered eight hits and walked two batters, but struck out six Raiders.
Shippensburg’s starter Gabe Mosser did not fair much better as he lasted merely 3.1 innings and allowed six earned runs and five hits from the mound while only accumulating four strikeouts.
Connor Crookham was the unlikeliest of heroes for the Warriors on Sunday in their first game of the day as the shortstop found himself facing the final batter of the game as a pitcher. Crookham seemed an unlikely choice to be anointed the responsibility of forcing the final out as he struck out three times in four appearances at the plate as a hitter.
But, as the pressure began to mount on the shortstop, Crookham earned the save with one pitch, producing the final out and securing the win for the Warriors in the first game of the doubleheader.
Game two did not showcase the same offensive firepower that fans were witnesses of in the first game as both Kyle McClintock and Brandon Holup showcased command and dominance in a battle on the mound.
Holup dominated for the Warriors and pitched all seven innings while allowing only one run and issuing one walk.
Holup kept Ship’s batters off-balance and finished the game with seven strikeouts.
McClintock pitched all six innings for the Raiders but allowed seven hits that resulted in three runs for the Warriors.
McClintock kept the Raiders in the game while striking out five Warriors, but three runs were enough for the Warriors in the pitching duel between Holup and McClintock.
Bennie continued his hot day at the plate in game two as he finished two for three at the plate and scored the team’s first run of the game in the first after doubling to get on base.
Bennie then knocked in the team’s third run of the game on a single that brought Jay Young to home plate.
The Warriors were also aided at the plate with strong performances from Young and Rishel, who each scored a hit and a run for the Warriors.
Mike Marcinko was the lone Raider to accumulate multiple hits in the second game as he finished two for three. Dalton Hoiles scored the lone run for Shippensburg and scored on a hit by Nick Spangler.
The wins firmly placed the Warriors in second place of the PSAC East, behind only Millersville.
The Warriors still have 12 divisional games left on the schedule, and with their combination of explosive offense and dominant pitching, they could very well find themselves on top of the division when those games conclude.
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