READING, Pa. – The Stevenson baseball team saw Albright center fielder Jeff Yordy hit two home runs knocking in five runs as the Lions upended the Mustangs 5-3 in the series opener on Thursday at Kelchner Field. With the loss, the Green and White suffered their fourth consecutive MAC Commonwealth defeat.
Stevenson (10-9, 2-4 MAC Commonwealth) junior Matthew Kerber had a fantastic day at the plate going 4-5 with a double, RBI, and run scored. Sophomore shortstop Brady Kessler was 2-4 blasting his second home run in as many games. Senior backstop Jake Dimon also added two hits. Classmates Billy Small, Michael Rhodes, and sophomore Mark Terrell all chipped in solo base knocks.
The Mustangs looked to strike right out of the gate as with one out Kerber singled out to right field and then stole second with senior John D'Aquanno at the dish. However, the away side was not able to get the run across as Lions starter Matt Fisher settled down getting D'Aquanno to popup on the infield. Then with Small at bat Kerber was caught trying to steal third on a strong throw from catcher Austin Roth to stall the threat. Albright (6-5, 1-3 MAC Commonwealth) would crack the board in their half of the first as with one gone Jimmie Gentry reached on an infield single to third. That sent Yordy to the box and he welcomed Stevenson sophomore starter Zach Kaye to the game with a two-run blast to straightaway center field. The next batter Noah Beebe grounded out to Kessler at short for the second out and Logan Adams tapped on back to Kaye to retire the side still at 2-0.
As the game entered the third the Lions continued to hold the 2-0 edge. That would get cut in half on the first batter of the frame when Kessler sent a bomb over the left field wall making it 2-1. Sophomore Kevin Murray Jr. followed with a strikeout for out one. Kerber then stepped up and laced another base hit to right. He then stole second before D'Aquanno flied out to right for the second out. Small drew a walk putting a pair on with two gone for the designated-hitter Terrell who unfortunately was caught watching strike three to stop the rally. After the rocky first Kaye settled down as he set down Albright in order and going to the fourth it was a one-run contest.
The score remained that way until the fifth when the Mustangs would even things up. To begin the inning things followed a familiar pattern against Fisher as he retired Murray to leadoff. The ensuing hitter Kerber picked up another single to left and would steal second with D'Aquanno at the plate before he waved at strike three for the second out. With a runner in scoring position, Small came to bat and he smacked a double out to deep right-center scoring Kerber knotting things at 2-2. Terrell struck out looking to end the top of the frame. Kaye kept the Stevenson momentum up with a one-two-three shutdown inning to keep the score where it was.
In the seventh, the Mustangs would take their first lead of the afternoon. Kessler opened the inning with a single right back up-the-box. Murray then had a productive at-bat with a groundout to second moving the runner up 90-feet. That was the end of the day for Fisher as he was replaced by Will Tokarski. The first batter he faced would be the red-hot Kerber and he scalded a double down the left field line to knock in Kessler making it 3-2. Tokarski responded with back-to-back strikeouts of D'Aquanno and Small to end the threat. The bottom of the inning saw the Lions get a runner to second with one out, but Kaye did not let him get any further as he got a pair of swinging strikeouts to end the inning.
Tokarski retired the away team in order in their half of the eighth to keep the deficit at 3-2. In the Albright part of the frame, junior Mike Elia was brought in out of the bullpen to replace Kaye who was excellent after a shaky first. The first hitter the reliever faced was pinch-hitter Jesse Fikslin who bounced one over to D'Aquanno at third, he bobbled the ball briefly and then attempted to make the play at first but his throw went out-of-play allowing Fikslin to head to second. Logan Pennypacker was then hit by a pitch putting men at first and second with no outs. Gentry stepped in next and tapped one right in front of the batter's box it was picked up by Dimon who fired to D'Aquanno at third to force out Fikslin for the first out. That brought Yordy to the plate and he repeated his feat from the first as he ripped one over the left field fence giving the Lions a 5-3 advantage. Elia would get Beebe on a pop up to Kessler and Tyler Brescancine looking at strike three to retire the side. In the ninth, with two out Murray was walked by Tokarski bringing the tying run to the dish in the form of the red-hot Kerber. He hit one hard down the third baseline but it was flagged down by Brescancine who made the throw to Beebe at first to end the game.
Stevenson starter Kaye took a no-decision going seven strong innings giving up just two runs on six hits and struck out five. Elia (1-1) took the loss lasting one frame letting in three runs on one hit and fanned one.
The Mustangs will look to win the series tomorrow Friday, March, 30 needing to sweep the doubleheader against Albright at Sugar Field. First pitch of game one against the Lions is set for 1pm.