GRANTHAM, Pa. – The Stevenson baseball team put up crooked numbers in six of the nine innings and pounded four home runs surviving a late charge by the host Messiah College to defeat the Falcons 19-10 in game one of the three-game weekend series at the Starry Baseball Field on Friday afternoon.
Stevenson (15-14, 6-7 MAC Commonwealth) were led by a career day for sophomore designated-hitter Mark Terrell going 4-5 with a career-high eight runs batted in addition smacking a pair of home runs to give him three on the season. He also added a double and drew a walk. Seniors John D'Aquanno and Billy Small were a combined 4-6 with each one supplying a homer and scoring nine runs. Juniors Anthony Millington, Matthew Kerber, and Jonathan Lugo joined together to rack up four hits and three runs scored.
The Mustangs wasted little time getting to Messiah (6-14, 2-9 MAC Commonwealth) starter Brandon Shirk as they struck with a pair in the opening frame. With two out the Green and White continued to show confidence in hitting with two away as D'Aquanno stepped up and blasted one over the right-center field wall for the early lead. After Small was issued a walk Terrell picked up his first RBI of the day with a double down the line in right to score the runner. Senior Jake Dimon then bounced out to the first baseman to end the inning at 2-0. In the last of the first Stevenson sophomore starting pitcher, Zach Kaye took to the hill looking for a shutdown frame and even with giving up a two-out single to Collin Fry he got a fly out of Josh Hayner to keep the two-run cushion.
After a scoreless second the game moved to the third and once again it was the away side providing some two-out thunder as back-to-back homers from Small and Terrell extended the advantage to 4-0. Dimon popped up to third for the final out. In the bottom half, the Falcons found their way onto the scoreboard against Kaye with a man at second and one gone Trent Culver bounced one up the middle allowing Jimmy Kustra to come in. Then with two away Hayner singled to left which plated Culver. However on the play after advancing to second the batter was thrown out trying to stretch to third and at the conclusion of three, it was 4-2.
Neither side could push anyone across in the fourth sending the contest to the fifth. A walk to sophomore Kevin Murray Jr. and a hit batsman signaled the end of the afternoon for Shirk as he was replaced by Matt Wright. The first man he faced was Small who he plunked to load the bases with no outs. The next two hitters Terrell and Dimon each picked up RBIs without putting the ball in play. Terrell earned a walk and Dimon was the third hit batter of the frame knocking in two more. Lugo followed up with an RBI fielder's choice on a grounder to second. With two on and a pair away sophomore Alex Kidwiler reached safely on an error scoring another runner. The rally came to a halt when Millington lined out to third for the final out at 8-2. The score remained that way until the top of the sixth when the offense went back to work for the Mustangs against reliever Luke Luckenbaugh. Kerber began the frame by being hit-by-a-pitch and stealing second. With one gone D'Aquanno continued his strong day with an RBI base hit through the left side. After Small drew a free pass putting two on that brought Terrell to the plate who proceeded to hit his second round-tripper of the day driving in three more making it 12-2 at the end of five and a half.
In the seventh, the Green and White onslaught continued with the bases full and two away Terrell again provided the offense with a two-run single to left field plating Murray and Millington. Dimon followed behind him with a walk off of reliever L. Rosina setting up two on for Lugo. During his at-bat, Rosina uncorked a wild pitch allowing D'Aquanno to race home from third. Lugo eventually flew out to left to retire the side. Messiah struck back in the bottom of the frame scoring twice as Adam Janney ripped an RBI double to right-center as Dan Wiederrecht came home from first. Then with two, away and a pair on Fry singled through the box plating Janney from second. Trey Pritchard popped up to short to bring inning number seven to a close at 15-4. The ensuing frame saw the guests score four more times as with one gone Murry was hit by the offering from Richie Varona filling the bags for D'Aquanno. He stepped up and smoked a double down the left-field line scoring two. After Small reached on a walk Terrell got on due to a fielder's choice with Murray being able to score thanks to an errant throw from Varona. Dimon plated another run with a line out to right before Terrell was gunned out at second to bring the rally to a close at 19-4.
The final frame of the game saw the home team get to the Stevenson bullpen as senior reliever Kenny Armiger was touched up for six runs on an RBI double by Hayner to score one. Pritchard was safe on an error to score another one. With the bases loaded Janney was also safe on an error which saw two Falcons come home and Kustra with an RBI groundout brought it to 19-10. Austin Mellinger was the final out of the game as Armiger got him to whiff at strike three.
Stevenson starter Kaye (3-3) was strong going eight innings giving up just four runs on ten hits while fanning four.
The Mustangs will be right back at it tomorrow Saturday, April, 14 when they return home to wrap up the three-game set versus Messiah College at Sugar Field. First pitch of game one against the Falcons is set for 1pm.