STEVENSON, Md. – The Stevenson baseball team extended their winning streak to five games pounding out 18 hits and scoring 17 runs in a 17-6 rout of Widener University in the MAC Commonwealth opener on Friday afternoon at Sugar Field.
Stevenson (9-5, 1-0 MAC) got a perfect day at the plate from sophomore Kevin Murray Jr. as he went 4-4 (including a double) with four runs scored, one run batted in, and drew a walk. Senior Billy Small was 3-4, scoring three times and plating two. Sophomore designated hitter Mark Terrell added three knocks and two RBIs. Juniors Jordan Moore, Brady Kessler, and sophomore Matthew Kerber each chipped in with two hits and combined to score five runs.
After a scoreless first and top of the second, the Mustangs erupted against Widener (5-7, 0-1 MAC) starting pitcher Matthew Guarino. Terrell led off the frame with a single out to left and went to second when Small picked up a base hit on a bunt that went over the third baseman's head. Both runners moved up a bag on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Jacob Norris setting up second and third with one out. The next batter senior Michael Rhodes grounded out to the Pride first baseman Dylan Peiffer for the second out, however it allowed for Terrell to come across. Then, Stevenson went to work with two down as the following hitter Moore sent one out to right knocking home Small. Kerber stepped up and put two on with two gone on a single to left center. That brought things around to the top of the order for Murray who was able to plate Moore on a hit to left center as well. Murray then stole a base moving two into scoring position for Kerber. He sent one to the favorite spot of the inning left center driving in both Murray and Kessler, and was able to advance to second on a throwing error by left fielder Nathan Valenta. Senior John D'Aquanno came to bat and smoked one out to left plating Kerber. After, Terrell reached on the second Widener error of the frame Small singled to left plating D'Aquanno. The rally came to an end when Norris went down looking, but not before the Mustangs sent 12 men to the dish, picking up eight hits and taking a 7-0 lead after two.
Both sides were set down in order in their half of the third. The home side came to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Murray started things off with a hit through the right side and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Kerber. He then stole third in the middle of the at-bat for D'Aquanno which signaled the end of the day for Guarino as he was replaced by Alex Zilli. D'Aquanno went on a swinging strike three for the second out. Again, it was Stevenson who rallied with two out as Terrell picked up an RBI with a single to center field. The next hitter Small went back out to center with a double and took third on the throw scoring a chugging Terrell all the way from first. After Norris walked he took second on a failed pickoff attempt by Zilli letting Small cross. Rhodes was the last batter of the inning as he would watch strike three. At the end of four, it was 10-0 Mustangs.
In the top of the fifth Glenn Seymour began the inning with a double to left-center and took third on a groundout by Valenta. Chandler Liero struck out swinging to retire the side. Moore opened the bottom of the frame with a base hit right back up the box and went to second on a sacrifice put down by Kessler. Murray ripped a double to right-center putting two in scoring position with one out. After Moore was picked off at third Kerber sent a base hit down the right-field line scoring Murray. D'Aquanno reached safely on an error by the left fielder after the ball kicked out of his mitt scoring Kerber and making it an even dozen for the hosts. Terrell filed out to right to end the threat at 12-0.
The sixth inning was the only frame on the afternoon that saw both teams get on the scoreboard. After Kyle Buchman walked to leadoff, he stole second after Ryan Bennett was struck out. Then with Ricky Collings at the dish, Buchman went in search of third and successfully was able to swipe it and scored on the play after an error on the catcher Moore as his throw was a little wide. Collings drew a walk and got to second on a steal of second but got no further as Mustangs junior starting pitcher James Wiercinski got strikeouts of Brennan Taylor and Nick D'Alessandro to retire the side 12-1. Stevenson in the bottom half added five more against reliever Brennan March. He opened things up with a walk of Small and then saw Norris reach on a fielding error by the third baseman. Senior pinch-hitter Michael Kelly then bounced on through the right-side plating both runners still with no one out. The next batter Moore was issued the second the walk of the frame putting Mustangs on first and second. Kessler followed by reaching on a fielder's choice that saw Moore get forced out at second for the first out with runners at the corners. During the at-bat of Murray, March uncorked a wild pitch allowing for Kelly to come home safely. Murray was then hit by a pitch and Kerber drew a free pass to load the bags. This brought Noel Franczyk out of the Pride bullpen to replace March. He immediately recorded an out as D'Aquanno reached on a fielder's choice with Kessler being forced out at home for the second out. Terrell followed up with a single up the middle to score Kerber and Murray. With the bases still full with two down for Norris, but he brought the rally to a halt after he struck out swinging to end the frame at 17-1.
In the eighth inning with the score still, the same Widener added a few runs off of sophomore relief pitcher Erik Arenberg as Bennett plated Liero with an RBI groundout to Kessler at short after Liero led off with a double. The next hitter Collings who reached on an error by D'Aquanno at third scoring Buchman who had walked earlier. With Taylor at the dish, he singled back up the middle to allow Collings to come home. Then after D'Alessandro was hit by a pitch sophomore Jake Vanko was brought in to get the remaining outs and he did as he got Tommy Scharnikow to ground out to D'Aquanno and Greg Elfreth to ground out to first to set down the side at 17-4. Vanko remained on the mound in the ninth and would concede two more runs both unearned. After Joe Addvensky and Liero both flew out to being the inning. Buchman followed with a walk, Bennett legged out an infield single, and Collings reached on an error by the third baseman to load the bases. The next batter was Taylor and he got on first after the second straight error by D'Aquanno at third scoring Buchman and keeping the bases full. With D'Alessandro at the plate, all the runners moved up 90-feet on a passed ball, which included Bennett scoring. After D'Alessandro was hit by a pitch Vanko settled down and got Scharnikow to tap back to him on the mound for the final out of a convincing, but slightly sloppy 17-6 victory.
Stevenson starter Wiercinski (2-2) earned the win lasting seven complete innings giving up just one run (unearned) on one hit while fanning eleven Pride hitters. Arenberg and Vanko combined to go two frames letting up five runs (three earned) on just three hits.
The Mustangs are back in action on Sunday, March, 18 when they complete the three-game series with conference opponent Widener University in Chester, Pa. with a doubleheader. First pitch against the Pride is set for 1pm.