SHEPHERDSTOWN— With a steady rain making mud and wet baseballs the “face” of the game, it was Shepherd that couldn’t overcome the eight runs Indiana scored in 2.1 innings off starter Trevor Appleby. Even though it had a six-run first inning itself, Shepherd dropped a thoroughly wet 8-6 decision to the Crimson Hawks in a game that was called after just six innings.
With Appleby constantly checking his shoes and staring down at the mud on the mound, Indiana never wasted a moment or a plate appearance against the would-be No. 2 starter in Coach Wayne Riser’s rotation.
Appleby yielded four runs in the first. And another run the next inning, and then was finally lifted in the third after another three runs crossed on Matt Szukics’ three-homer that erased all of the one-time, two-run lead the Rams had.
Appleby faced 19 batters in all. Eleven of them became base runners, only one on a Shepherd error.
The first two men Appleby faced, he walked. Three doubles later and the Crison Hawks had a 4-0 lead.
What appeared to be a fruitless Shepherd first inning when the first two batters were outs actually became a six-run frame and gave Aaron Scoville a chance to make two outs in the inning.
Nathan Minnich walked. Brandon Coffey had a single. Michael Lott walked off Indiana pitcher Greg Stewart. The bases were loaded. Ryan Messina poked a two-run single toward right-center.
Jake Cook lined a two-run single to center. Shepherd had tied it with five straight base runners. Nash Hutter launched a two-run homer to left . . . and the Rams led, 6-4.
Appleby couldn’t hold the short lead. A walk became another run on Dylan Songer’s RBI double. Still, Shepherd had a one-run lead. But in the Indiana third, Szukics unloaded a three-run home run through the rain drops and in one more batter, Appleby was gone.
Several times, 10-minute delays were filled with tens of bags of drying compound being spread all over the diamond. Meanwhile, the amount of remaining daylight was getting short. Even though it was masked by the rain clouds, the sun was not going to wait before it would disappear at about 6:05 p.m..
Shepherd never scored again off Stewart and reliever Austin Mock. In fact, the Rams had only one more hit before the umpires called a halt to play at about 5:20 p.m.
In its last four turns, the Rams had five strikeouts, Minnich’s single to left, and only four baserunners.
The field conditions bothered Appleby and his four walks. The 11 runners that reached safely afainst him bothered the outcome even more.