Baseball Sweeps Bloomsburg

By Anthony Fabrikant
Staff Writer

The Huskies were up three runs heading into the bottom of the third inning. But ESU caught fire and scorched the Huskies for 15 runs over the remaining four innings to win the first game of their doubleheader,15-5.

ESU recorded 17 hits and was led by Robert Bennie’s four-hit performance. Bennie scored two runs and had three RBI in the lead-off spot for the Warriors.

Bennie’s opportunities to knock in runs came as the result of second baseman Jay Young batting .667 for the day at the bottom of the lineup, allowing Young to score two runs for the Warriors.

Matt Festa pitched a complete game for the Warriors. Through the seven innings, he allowed nine hits, three earned runs and six strikeouts while only walking three batters.

The win furthered Festa’s strong 2016 campaign as he picked up his fifth win of the season, remaining perfect on the season at 5-0.

The Huskies’ Mike Warren did not find success similar to Festa’s, finishing after the fourth inning. Warren gave up 11 hits, seven earned runs, and two walks while striking out three Warriors at the plate.

The bullpen didn’t fare much better as Sean McCloskey, Logan Zavada and Jeremy Zezza combined to give up eight earned runs on five hits while walking five ESU batters and accumulating only one strikeout.

Conner Crookham and Drew Hercik each went 3-4 at the plate and combined to score four runs and tally eight RBI.

The shortstop and third-baseman led the Warriors at the plate and were key contributors in ESU being able to score 15 runs in game one.

Game two did not offer the same onslaught of runs from ESU. Bloomsburg did not go quietly as they were led by a stellar performance from pitcher Zach Meyer, who only gave up one earned run through seven innings.

However, ESU’s strong bullpen performances from Dan Woodley and Ben Bortz prevented the Huskies’ attempt to split the series at Mitterling Field by shutting down the Bloomsburg offense, allowing Drew Hercik to knock in the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth-inning and propelling the Warriors to a dramatic 5-4 victory over their PSAC East rivals.

Through seven innings pitched, Tyler Eckman struck out two batters and gave up six hits and three earned runs. But as his pitch count continued to rise, the Huskies were able to score two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings, tying the game at 4-4 and forcing extra innings.

Tristan Kevitch and Ryan Shiffer each went two for four for the Huskies and were the only players from Bloomsburg to garner multiple hits off the ESU pitchers in game two.

Kevitch and Shiffer combined to score two runs, while Kevitch added an RBI on a solo home run in the seventh.

Christian Rishel went two for three at the plate for the Warriors as the designated hitter and scored a run. But it was two errors in the top of the seventh by the Warriors that allowed the Huskies to tie the game.

As the game went into extra innings, the Warriors were awarded with dominant performances from Bortz and Woodley, who combined to strikeout four Huskies through two innings.

The stellar bullpen pitching allowed the Warriors to steady their offensive attack, and in the bottom of the ninth, Robert Bennie got on base by drawing a walk, and then stole second to get into scoring position.

Ian Allen, following Bennie in the batting order, also drew a walk but was forced out as Connor Crookham hit into a fielder’s choice, but Bennie advanced to third-base.

Hercik, a redshirt senior, stepped to the plate with one out and popped a high, fly ball to right field.

Huskies right-fielder Shane Woelfel prepared to launch a strike to home plate, hoping to result in a tag-out of Bennie and ending the ninth-inning still tied, but the throw did not beat Bennie.

The Warriors ended Friday night with a clean sweep of the Huskies, notching two PSAC-East wins.

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