34 run series helps baseball win three of four against Army

Ajan Caneda , Senior Writer

After stumbling in the first two series of league play, the baseball team responded in a huge way at home by driving in 34 runs over the four-game series against Army on April 11-12. The Bison won 2-1 (11 innings) in the first game, and dominated the Black Knights 10-2 and 14-1 in the next two. Unfortunately, Army came away with a 10-8 win in the final game. In addition, the Bison were unable to avenge their earlier loss to Penn State and fell 11-2 on April 15.

Army struck out 11 Bison in the first game of the series, but the Bison earned the decisive run in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Orange and Blue kicked off the scoring in the third after a passed ball put them up 1-0. After the Black Knights evened the score in the sixth, the Bison had several opportunities to break the tie, but Army’s pitching forced extra innings.

“I think the difference this weekend was how we really worked all week in practice on our approach when we are at the plate, focusing on driving the ball to all parts of the field and really not trying to do too much at the plate, and I think that really showed this weekend,” Tommy Pennington ’16 said.

Bryson Hough ’15 pitched a solid 10 innings and did not allow a walk, while Mike Stephens ’18 grabbed his first career win after working an inning in relief. He struck out two batters, putting the Bison in position for the game winner.

“This weekend really was great for our morale. We had a slow start to league play, but we know we are a great team, so we didn’t let our slow start get into our heads,” Pennington said.

Jon Mayer ’16 came up in the clutch with his walk-off single that snapped a four-game losing streak for the Bison.

In the second game, the Bison jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first three innings and carried that momentum to the win. Seven players had at least one RBI and each starter had at least one hit. Xavier Hammond ’15 took advantage of the run support by striking out five batters. Rob Krentzman ’15 posted three RBIs in the game while Mayer added two of his own.

The Bison’s dominant offense continued to show in the third game. Mayer had another spectacular performance, going 4-4 and racking up seven RBIs, which is one short of the school record.

The Bison did all their damage in the first four innings, scoring nine of their 14 runs in the first and fourth innings. Greg Wasikowski ’15 and Spencer Stokes ’16 added two RBIs apiece.

Andrew Andreychik ’16 complimented the Bison offense by allowing only two hits and striking out eight. He won Patriot League Pitcher of the Week after this performance.

Army prevented the sweep in the final game after posting two runs apiece in five separate innings. Mayer capped off his career series with two RBIs. He also earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors after hitting .588 and driving in 12 RBIs in the series.

“Having a great weekend like that was great for our confidence, but going forward we have to bring the same intensity to every series,” Pennington said.

In the first matchup between the Bison and Penn State on April 7, the Nittany Lions escaped with a 4-2 win. Penn State engineered a more convincing victory in the rematch by starting the game on an 8-0 run in the first two innings. Mark Powell ’17 and Krentzman each registered an RBI for the Orange and Blue.

The Bison (18-17, 4-8 PL) will now have a four-game home series with Lafayette on April 18-19.

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