By Ronald Hanaki
On April 2, ESU’s baseball team swept the University of the Sciences 9-7 and 7-1 in a Thursday afternoon doubleheader at Mitterling Field. ESU is now 17-7 on the season.
In a game that saw both teams make extensive use of their bullpens, Tyler Eckman pitched in relief of the first game of the doubleheader and set a record by saving his 8th game of the season.
For most of the first game, ESU redshirt junior Cody Klinger and USciences sophomore pitcher Reilly Degen were locked up in a pitcher’s duel.
The Warriors drew first blood in the bottom of the fourth inning. ESU junior first baseman Dylan Tamecki’s two out double was followed by a 2-run home run by redshirt sophomore shortstop Conner Crookham that put ESU ahead 2-0.
That was just the beginning of the offensive fireworks as both teams combined for 13 runs in the fifth inning. In the top of the fifth inning, the USciences Devils had the bases loaded with two outs when USciences sophomore left fielder Trevor Datz hit a 2-run RBI single to knot the game 2-2.
ESU sophomore pitcher Ben Bortz came in from the bullpen to pitch in relief of Klinger. With two outs and runners on first and second, Bortz walked USciences sophomore first baseman Pat Hiester. With the bases now loaded, USciences freshman Jordan Lee drew a walk that forced in a run.
Another call was made to the bullpen, and ESU junior pitcher Joe DiGiovanni replaced Bortz on the mound. However, DiGiovanni walked USciences sophomore third baseman Matt Miniconzi, which forced in another run.
With ESU now trailing by two runs and the bases still loaded, USciences senior shortstop Dylan McHaffie hit a 2-run RBI singled that plated two more runs to give the Devils a 6-2 lead over the Warriors.
ESU would soon get those runs back and then some. ESU led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a lead-off triple from ESU redshirt junior third baseman Drew Hercik. ESU junior first baseman Brett Bonn hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Hercik. With the score now 6-3 USciences, ESU junior catcher Ryan Richards struck out but was able to reach first base on a wild pitch.
Freshman Chase James pinch ran for Richards and promptly stole second.
Degen would strike out ESU freshman second baseman Aden Tully, but Degen would be replaced by USciences junior pitcher Mark Gervasi.
Gervasi then threw a wild pitch that allowed James to reach third base.
ESU redshirt sophomore center fielder Casey Saverio walked and then stole second. Sophomore right fielder Ian Allen was also walked to load the bases.
Tamecki was then hit by a pitch, allowing another run to score for ESU. The Devils now clung to a precarious 6-4 lead.
With the bases still loaded, Crookham was walked allowing another run to score. ESU was now down by only one run.
USciences freshman pitcher Eric Stratoti came into the game to pitch in relief of Gervasi, but he was greeted by Crookham who hit a grand slam to make the score 9-6 ESU.
Eckman came in to pitch the seventh inning and save the game for the Warriors. The Devils would threaten and even push across another run, but Eckman recorded 2 strikeouts for his 8th save of the season. The final score was 9-7 ESU.
In the second game of the doubleheader, pitchers Marty Martens, Derrick Jackson, and Austin Bashore combined to allow only 1 run in an easy 7-1 victory for ESU.
Redshirt sophomore Martens started and pitched 4 innings. He only gave up 1 hit and struck out 3.
ESU pounded across 5 runs in the first 3 innings and added 2 more insurance runs in the sixth inning.
Next, ESU (17-7, 6-6) will hit the road to play PSAC rival Lock Haven University in a Friday afternoon doubleheader on April 3.
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