CHESTER, Pa. – The Stevenson baseball team pushed their winning streak to six with a 3-1 win in game one of Sunday's doubleheader versus Middle Atlantic Conference opponent Widener University. Unfortunately, in the second contest of the day, the run was halted with a 2-1 defeat at Widener University Baseball Field. The Mustangs did take the weekend set two games to one after taking Friday's home matchup by a 17-6 final at Sugar Field.
The six-game winning streak was the longest for Stevenson baseball since February 24 to March 9 of the 2013 season when the Mustangs put together a nine-game streak en route to a 25-18 season.
In game one, Stevenson (10-5, 2-0 MAC) got another perfect performance at the plate from sophomore Kevin Murray Jr. as he went 2-2 (including a double) with one run batted in and drew a walk. Senior Billy Small went 1-3 but made his one hit count smacking his first home run of the season. Classmate John D'Aquanno and sophomore Brady Kessler each added a hit, with Kessler also scoring once.
After a scoreless first, the Mustangs came to bat in the top of the second against Widener (5-8, 0-2 MAC) starter Josh Lafferty. The first batter of the frame was sophomore Mark Terrell and he was retired on a swinging strike three. That brought Small to the plate he sent a Lafferty offering up into the wind and out over the right field wall for his first homer of the season. Sophomore Jacob Norris and junior Jordan Moore both went down on strikes to end their half of the inning. Stevenson sophomore starting pitcher Tyler Graham took to the mound in the bottom of frame number two and set down the Pride in order on three straight groundouts.
With the score still 1-0 visitors heading to the fourth the Mustangs got the leadoff batter on when D'Aquanno was hit by a pitch from Lafferty. Unfortunately, the next three hitters were put away on a flyout and a pair of strikeouts. Moving into the bottom of the inning the home team would even things up. Greg Elfreth grounded out to Small at first for out number one. In stepped Stephen DeBellis reached safely on an error by Small, but then he would be retired when he was caught stealing for the second out. Glenn Seymour then drew a walk and took second on a wild pitch. With two gone Mike Mollenhauer hit one out to Norris in right, he misplayed the high fly ball allowing the batter to reach and let Seymour score to make it 1-1. Graham got out of things on the next hitter when he got Chandler Liero to bounce one back to him on the mound for the third out.
The next frame saw Stevenson retake the lead with some more two-out production. After Moore and senior Michael Rhodes were set down. Kessler stepped up and reached on an error by Pride center fielder Nick D'Alessandro. The next batter was Murray who drew a walk and then advanced on the throw back to the pitcher allowing Kessler to go third on a miscue on the same play the second baseman. This set up first and second with two down for junior Matthew Kerber he watched Lafferty uncork a wild pitch letting Kessler score to retake the lead. The rally came to an end when Kerber ripped one but right at Elfreth at third for the final out.
After neither side could do anything in the sixth the Mustangs went to work in the seventh looking to add an all-important insurance run. Moore opened things up with a fly out to left. That brought senior Jake Dimon off the bench to pinch-hit. He earned a walk off of Lafferty. Kessler then knocked a single to right putting runners at the corners with one away. Murray followed with a sacrifice fly to right plating the runner from third. Kerber popped out to send the game to the bottom of the seventh and last chance time for Widener. Senior Eric Prachiniak entered the game in search of the save. He surrendered a leadoff single to Liero but then got the next three Pride hitters in a row to end the game 3-1.
Stevenson starter Graham (3-1) earned the win going 5.2 giving up just two hits and one run (unearned). Junior Mike Elia got the only batter he faced in the sixth on a strikeout, before Prachniak came in to shut the door in the seventh for his second save of the season.
The second game saw the Mustangs get just three hits one each from Terrell, Dimon, and Rhodes. Kessler knocked in the only run the away side would score.
After a scoreless first the hosts would crack the scoreboard in the bottom of the second against sophomore starting pitcher Zach Kaye. Joe Addvensky was hit by a pitch to leadoff and went to third on a Liero single. With runners at the corners and no outs, Matthew Guarino laid down a sacrifice bunt scoring Addvensky. Brennan Taylor struck out and after a Kyle Buchman single, Liero was gunned down at home by Rhodes on a strong throw from left field to end the inning at just 1-0. The Pride added one more in the last of third as Elfreth doubled to right with one out. The next hitter Stephen DeBellis reached on an error by Kessler on a wild throw trying to get the runner at first which allowed Elfreth to scamper home making it 2-0. Seymour and Addvensky were then retired to end the threat.
Stevenson looked to mount a comeback against Widener starter Kade Jones in the fifth when Dimon doubled to right-center with one out. Rhodes then put runners at the corners with a base hit out to right. Both runners then advanced safely on a sacrifice bunt by Kessler plating Dimon cutting it to 2-1. Murray fouled out to Elfreth at third to end the rally. In the seventh still trailing by one the Mustangs looked to tag Sean Maniatis with a blown save. Small drew a leadoff walk. That brought up freshman pinch-hitter Kevin Barrett he put down a sacrifice bunt moving freshman pinch-runner Blake Loewe in scoring position with just one out. Dimon was next and he hit a liner out to Mollenhauer in left who threw back behind Loewe at second to DeBellis who put down the tag to end the game 2-1.
Stevenson starter Kaye (1-3) went five innings giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits and struck out two. Elia went one full frame after only pitching to one batter in game one did not give up a hit and got a strikeout.
The Mustangs are back in action on Friday, March, 23 when they open a three-game series with conference opponent Hood College at Sugar Field. First pitch against the Blazers is set for 3:30pm.