STEVENSON, Md. – A day after being stopped by high winds and excellent Frostburg State pitching. The Stevenson baseball team did not let the impending darkness and intermittent snow flurries stop them from posting five runs in the seventh to defeat Gettysburg College on Tuesday afternoon by a final of 8-7 in seven innings at Sugar Field.
Stevenson (5-5) senior John D'Aquanno had a strong offensive output going 3-4, including a double with three runs batted in, and a run scored. Classmate Billy Small was 2-4, knocking in a run. The group of sophomores Kevin Murray Jr., Jacob Norris, and Brady Kessler, as well as junior Matthew Kerber, accounted for four hits and five runs scored.
The scoring for Gettysburg (0-2) started right away as in the top of the first with one out Logan Sneed picked up a bunt single back to Mustangs starting pitcher sophomore Tyler Graham. After Chuck Probst was walked the next hitter Ryan LaCoe singled out to Norris in right packing the bases with just one away. Sean Murphy sent one through the left side plating Probst and Sneed for the early lead. Graham would get out of the jam at just 2-0 with strikeouts of Dominick Gasparro and Tyler Mitchell. In the last of the first Murray opened things up with a single off of Bullets starter Erik Wortmann. He then stole second and was able to move to third after an error on the throw by catcher Matt Szczesny. Kerber grounded to Sneed at third for the first out. D'Aquanno followed him into the batter's box and ripped a double out to left field letting Murray cross home getting the home side on the board. Sophomores Mark Terrell and Alex Kidwiler both grounded out to retire the side with the score at 2-1.
In the second the visitors would extend the lead using a two-out rally. After Szczesny and Jack Seibert were both set down Joe Giovinco laid down a bunt single in the direction of D'Aquanno at third. He was able to advance to second base after an error by Small at first on a failed pickoff attempt. Sneed reached on another infield hit moving the runner to third putting runners at the corners with two gone. Probst blasted a triple to deep center scoring both runners pushing the edge to 4-1. Graham forced LaCoe to fly out to Murray in center to end the frame. With the score still the same heading to the bottom of the third, it would be the Mustangs doing damage with two gone. Kessler and Murray both grounded out to start the frame. The following batter Kerber was plunked by Wortmann and then stole second with D'Aquanno at the plate. He then scored when D'Aquanno hit a hard single that hugged the right-field line. The threat ended on the next hitter when Terrell struck out swinging.
With neither side able to add to their totals in the fourth the game moved to the fifth and the snow began to fall. Murphy led off with an infield hit and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Gasparro. Mitchell was then a victim of a flyout to Murray bumping the runner up 90-feet. Szczesny came to bat with two down and drew a walk which brought Murphy to the dish. During his at-bat Szczesny got himself caught in a rundown trying to steal second and was eventually tagged out by the shortstop Kessler, however, while that was going on Murphy broke for home and scored standing up making it 5-2. To begin the bottom of the frame Kessler singled to center before Murray struck out and Kerber flied out setting up a runner at first with two away for D'Aquanno who grabbed another RBI with a knock to center plating Kessler. Terrell then grounded back to Wortmann to retire the side.
As the daylight started to fade and the snow continued to fall off and on junior CJ Kilpatrick came in from the bullpen to start the sixth. Pinch-hitter Banks Northington started the inning with a double to deep right-center. Kilpatrick was able to induce a groundball from Giovinco for out one and then fanned Sneed for the second. The next batter Probst was hit by a pitch making it first and second with two gone. Again the Bullets got a clutch two-out hit as LaCoe smacked a double to left center letting Northington and Probst all the way from first to come in extending the lead to 7-3 after five and a half. In the bottom half of the frame, the Mustangs went down one-two-three on a pair of swinging strikeouts and a grounder to third.
After freshman reliever, Chris Osborn put the away side down in order in the top-half of the seventh. Stevenson came to bat in the last of the inning as the sky continued to darken and the snow got heavier Jonny Bray took over on the mound for Gettysburg and issued a free pass to leadoff hitter senior Michael Kelly. Kessler earned the second straight walk moving pinch runner freshman Kevin Barrett to second. That signaled the end of the day for Bray who was replaced by Sam Dobbins. The first batter to face him was Murray and he drew the third consecutive base on balls of the frame which loaded the bases for Kerber. He ripped one to center scoring both Kessler and Barrett cutting the score to 7-5, just like that the rally was on. D'Aquanno reached on a fielder's choice and Terrell went to first on the fourth walk by the Bullets bullpen. With the bases juiced and just one out the third pitcher of the inning was summoned in the form of Brendan Wright. He got Kidwiler watching strike three for out number two. The two-out damage would continue for Stevenson as Norris walked plating Murray, and Small picked up an infield single to short letting D'Aquanno score knotting the game at 7-7. With the threat of not being able to get another inning in senior Michael Rhodes was drafted from the bench to hit for Barrett and he drew the sixth walk of the frame allowing freshman pinch runner Blake Loewe to score giving the home side the 8-7 edge. The rally came to a halt when Norris was picked off at third base.
After the final out was recorded the two umpires got together with Stevenson manager Dave Gage and Gettysburg boss John Campo, and came to the conclusion that the combination of the weather and the impending darkness did not allow enough time to complete the eighth and ninth which led to the game being called with the home side earning the 8-7 victory.
Stevenson starter Graham went five innings giving up nine hits, five runs (three earned), and struck out four. Kilpatrick lasted one frame in relief letting two in on two hits and fanned one. Osborn (1-0) got the win pitching one and one K.
The Mustangs are back in action on Saturday, March, 10 when they host a non-conference game against Eastern University at Sugar Field. First pitch against the Eagles is set for 11am.