STEVENSON, Md. – The Stevenson baseball team bats came to life on Saturday afternoon as they pounded out 13 hits and scored 13 runs in a 13-5 non-conference victory over Eastern University (Pa.) at Sugar Field.
Stevenson (6-5) was by a pair of 3-5 days by senior Billy Small and sophomore Mark Terrell. Terrell ripped two doubles picking up three RBIs and scored a run. While Small added a double, and plated two runs. Junior Matthew Kerber and sophomore Alex Kidwiler each contributed two hits to the cause and knock in two. Three other Mustangs chipped in with solo hits.
The game started well for Stevenson junior starting pitcher James Wiercinski as he got strikeouts from Tyler Stanley and Timmy Gorton to help set down Eastern (4-3) in order in the top of the first. In the bottom half of the frame sophomore, Kevin Murray Jr. led off with a walk against Eagles starter Jacob Breyer. He came home on the very next hitter as Kerber smoked a triple to deep right field. Senior John D'Aquanno then was able to get on after an error on the right fielder Craig Stanley, which allowed the runner Kerber to score. Terrell was next up and he flew to Joseph Poma in left. With one out and one on Small stepped into the box and watched D'Aquanno get gunned down at second trying to steal before he would hit a soft pop to Zachary Belansek for the final out. After one the Mustangs held a 2-0 edge.
With the score still 2-0 heading to the third Wiercinski got the leadoff man Poma to pop up a bunt back to the mound for the first out. He then issued a walk to Jake Jones. The next hitter T. Stanley popped out to D'Aquanno at third setting up a runner at first and two gone. Jones would advance to second on a wild pitch with C. Stanley at the dish but could get no further as C. Stanley was fanned on strikes to shut down the threat. With one away to start the bottom of the inning Murray ripped a triple down into the right-field corner, and was able to come home when Kerber knocked him in. After Kerber stole second, D'Aquanno was plunked on a pitch from Breyer making it first and second with just one out. Terrell came to bat with a prime run-scoring opportunity and he delivered smacking a double the opposite way scoring Kerber and putting D'Aquanno just 90-feet away. Small was then set down with a productive RBI groundout to Brad Clemens at second. Sophomore Jacob Norris became the third out lifting one to Poma in left giving the home team a 5-0 lead after three.
In the fourth, it was the Eagles who finally cracked the scoreboard getting three home. The first hitter of the frame was Gorton and he sent a single into right. After Gorton stole second and Tommy Strazza fouled out to Small at first Freddy Yahn stepped into the box. During his at-bat Wiercinski skipped a pitch in the dirt that got become the catcher Kidwiler, he was not able to spot its location right away allowing Gorton to sprint around third and come home as the throwback from Wiercinski to Kidwiler at the plate was late. Yahn would eventually draw a walk and Clemens was issued a free pass right after putting runners on first and second with just one out. Belansek became out number two as he went down swinging. Poma then reached safely on an error by Kerber at second to load the bags with just one out to get. Unfortunately, for Wiercinski his inning would be extended as Jones blasted a double to right center scoring two. After pinch-hitter, Jordan Laboy was walked the rally came to an end when C. Stanley went down on strikes. The bottom of the inning saw the leadoff batter Kidwiler walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Michael Rhodes. Murry then was issued a two-out free pass to put Mustangs on first and second. Kerber flew out to T. Stanley in center to stall the threat.
After a one-two-three top of the fifth for Wiercinski, the home team gave him some much-needed breathing room in the bottom half as Stevenson sent nine men to the plate against the Eastern bullpen. The first reliever was Justin Fredericks and he was greeted with three consecutive singles from D'Aquanno, Terrell, and Small to load the bases. With Norris at-bat, Fredericks uncorked a wild pitch allowing everyone to move up a bag, which included D'Aquanno coming in to score. Norris then drew a walk to reload the bases. That signaled the end of the day for Fredericks as Matt Bunjo was grabbed from the pen. The first batter he saw was Kidwiler who smashed a two-bagger down the left field line scoring both Small and Terrell. Rhodes followed that up with a sacrifice fly to C. Stanley in right letting Norris come in. Kessler took a walk and Murray was hit by a pitch setting up a bases loaded one out opportunity for Kerber. However, he would hit a hard grounder to Gorton at third who stepped on the bag and tossed across to first for an inning-ending double play. At the end of five, the Mustangs had pulled ahead 9-3.
The Eagles did not go quietly as they responded with two in the sixth. Clemens led off with a groundout back to Wiercinski on the mound. Belansek then got on with a single out to right center and scored when Poma sent a double to left. The final out that the starter would get was a strikeout of Jones for the second out. That brought in senior Kenny Armiger out in relief and he had the inning prolonged when Laboy hit a roller out to sophomore Brady Kessler at short that kicked off his glove and into shallow left allowing the runner to score. C. Stanley followed up with a grounder to D'Aquanno at third he fired to second to force out Laboy for the final out. In the bottom of the inning, Small singled with two out, but junior Jordan Moore popped to Clemens at second to retire the side with the score at 9-5.
From there on the only run scoring came from the Mustangs as they got one in the seventh on an RBI groundout by junior pinch hitter Anthony Millington plating freshman pinch runner Kevin Barrett for the second out, before Kerber lined out. Then in the eighth after the second scoreless frame for freshman Patrick Sullivan Stevenson added three more in the bottom of the frame. First, after D'Aquanno was hit by a pitch, the following batter Terrell roped his second double of the day to deep right center plating the runner. Small came up next and ripped a two-bagger to left knocking home the pinch runner senior Michael Kelly. Then with two out, Barrett hit a sac fly to center scoring another pinch runner freshman Blake Loewe. Rhodes would end the rally when he hit into a double play. In the ninth, the Eagles could not mount a comeback against junior right-hander Mike Elia as he allowed just one runner on a walk and got a fly out, ground out, and a strikeout to end the game at 13-5.
Stevenson starter Wiercinski (1-2) earned the win lasting 5.2 giving up five runs (two earned), four hits, and struck out nine. The bullpen combination of Armiger, Sullivan, and Elia went 3.1 giving up no hits and fanning five.
The Mustangs are right back in action tomorrow Sunday, March, 11 when they host a non-conference game against Elmira College at Sugar Field. First pitch against the Soaring Eagles is set for 3pm.