FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Just 24-hours after defeating Penn State-Abington 3-1, and Frostburg State 21-7. The Stevenson University baseball team suffered their first setback of the year falling in a rematch to Frostburg State by a final of 7-5 on Sunday afternoon at J.P. Riddle Stadium.
The Mustangs (2-1) were led by senior third baseman John D'Aquanno who had three hits in four at-bats, scoring a run, and picking up an RBI. Sophomore right fielder Alex Kidwiler totaled two hits and drew a walk. Junior Matthew Kerber and sophomore Kevin Murray Jr. combined for four runs scored, two hits, and a walk. Four other Stevenson hitters recorded a hit on the day.
The Mustangs got the first runner of the game as leadoff batter Murray reached on an error by the Bobcats second baseman Nick Fuhrmann. He went to third on a groundout by Kessler but was not able to cross the plate as D'Aquanno and senior designated hitter Billy Small each went down on strikes to end the frame. Sophomore Tyler Graham took to the mound for his first start of the season but got off to a rocky start as he hit leadoff hitter Kyle Burger who then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bret Antognoni then became the first strikeout of the game for Graham. Next, with Matt Bougourd at the dish, Burger stole third and then came home on the second Stevenson wild pitch of the inning. Bougourd lined out to junior shortstop Anthony Millington. Fuhrmann singled to center field but was stranded on the bases when Greg Schneider grounded out to D'Aquanno to end one with a score of 1-0 Bobcats.
Still, with the margin at 1-0, the Mustangs came to bat in the top of the third looking to get the offense going. Millington led off with a knock to center. Murray followed up with a strikeout. Then with sophomore Brady Kessler in the box, Millington swiped second base and Kessler reached on catcher's interference against Jason Paredes. D'Aquanno grabbed his first hit of the day with an infield bunt single to third moving Millington and Kessler each up 90-feet loading the bases with only one away. Unfortunately, the rally would end there as Small struck out and Kerber popped up to third to retire the side. In their half, Frostburg went one-two-three against Graham keeping it still at just 1-0.
The following inning saw Stevenson go down in order against Bobcat starter Logan Corrigan. In the bottom of the fourth Bougourd singled through the left side to open things up. Then with Fuhrmann at-bat, consecutive wild pitches moved the runner up to third, and he eventually crossed the plate as Fuhrmann sent one through the right side. Schneider reached on a fielder's choice at the expense of Fuhrmann being forced out at second. With one and one out Patrick Bosley knocked a single into right making it first and second still with just the lone out. Paredes came to bat next and watch his two teammates steal second and third respectively. That spelled the end of the day for Graham as freshman Michael Smell was summoned out of the bullpen. He was greeted rather rudely by Paredes who picked up an RBI with a single to left. Bret Fogle reached on the second fielder's choice of the frame. The seventh hitter of the inning was Evan Colon who plated Bosley with a base hit to right, he then advanced to second on an error by the pitcher allowing Fogle to get 90-feet away from scoring. The attack finally ended when Burger flied out to right. The Bobcats sent eight men to the dish picking up five hits and leaving two runners to take a 4-0 lead.
Stevenson got on the board in the top of the fifth after Millington opened it up with a strikeout. Murray got hit by a pitch. Kessler followed up with a single to left putting runners at the corners with one gone. That forced Frostburg to go to the pen as Brady Adam was brought in to face D'Aquanno who skied one to center scoring Murray on the sacrifice fly. The Mustangs did not have the opportunity to do more damage as Kessler was picked off at second base (pitcher-first baseman-shortstop) ending the half at 4-1. In the bottom of the frame, the Bobcats responded still against Smell who got the first batter out. Then he issued a free pass to Bougourd. Fuhrmann was next to hit and he ripped a double to left which scored the runner. After Schneider grounded out there was a runner at third with two down. That prompted the second pitching change by Stevenson with freshman Chris Osborn replacing Smell. He surrendered a walk to Bosley, who then reached third on Paredes RBI double to left. Fogle ground out to D'Aquanno to put down the side, but the margin had grown to 6-1.
In the sixth, each side would pick up a run. First in the top half, after freshman Sam Ferreira was sent down on strikes as a pinch-hitter. Kerber, Kidwiler, and junior substitute Jordan Moore followed up by each drawing a walk setting up a bases-loaded opportunity for senior Michael Rhodes who unfortunately went down swinging for out number two. Junior Connor Wasilnak came off the bench to hit for Millington. During his at-bat Kerber was able to score on a passed ball, the half inning came to an end a few pitches later when Wasilnak was fanned by Adam. The score once again was trimmed by one standing at 6-2. The Bobcats got it back in the bottom half with one out and a runner at first Antognoni singled to center setting up first and second. Bougourd popped up to left fielder Rhodes for the second out. Fuhrmann sent an RBI single to left that got Burger in but saw Antognoni thrown out at home on a good relay from Rhodes to Moore keeping the deficit at 7-2.
With the score still the same the Mustangs tried to mount a comeback in the ninth against reliever Mike Livingston. Murray led things off with a double to right, but then Kessler popped up to first. So with one on and one gone D'Aquanno ripped one to left putting runners at the corners still just one down. Next, stepped up Ferriera plating Murray with a knock to left, moving D'Aquanno to third, but saw himself retired at second trying to advance. Kerber followed next with a hit through the left side scoring the run. The two-out threat continued with Kidwiler ripping a double to left field moving Kerber from first to third. Moore then reached on an error by Antognoni allowing Kerber to come home. Freshman Kevin Barrett came into run for Moore with the tying run coming to the dish in the form of Rhodes. Unfortunately, he popped one up right at the plate grabbed by the catcher to end the rally and the game 7-5.
Stevenson starter Graham took the loss giving up four runs (all earned), four hits and getting four strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Smell went 1.1 letting in two runs and issuing a walk. Osborn also saw the bump for 1.1 conceding one run on four hits. The combination of freshman Phil Wugalter, Patrick Sullivan, and sophomore Erik Arenberg went two innings picking up two K's and handing out one free pass.
The Mustangs are back in action on Friday, February, 23 when they travel to Hampden-Sydney, Va to square off with Moravian and host Hampden-Sydney. First pitch against the Grayhounds is set for 11am, and the start time for the game versus the Tigers is scheduled for 3pm.