SHEPHERDSTOWN — After unloading RBIs, hits and runs scored against West Liberty in Shepherd’s sweep of a Friday doubleheader, the Rams’ Ryan Messina continued to wreck the Hilltoppers on Saturday when he went 3-for-4 with a home run in a 7-3 win.
By winning all three weekend games, the Rams moved past the Hilltoppers in the conference’s North Division standings. West Liberty had been in first place in the seven-school division before coming apart at Shepherd.
Messina went 7-for-12 in the series and moved his batting average near the .400 mark for the year.
It was a four-run explosion in the sixth that came with two outs and nobody on base that carried the bright afternoon for the Rams.
With the score even at 3-3, Messina slammed a solo homer that led the definitive inning. After Messina’s lead-giving drive, five straight Rams reached safely with T.J. Weisenburg completing the scoring with a two-RBI single.
In the early going, Michael Lott doubled and then scored on Chad Murphy’s single. Shepherd’s second run came when three batters were hit by pitches and Jake Cook had a single. Kyle Porter drove in another run with a single.
The Hilltoppers stayed even with three runs in four innings off Rams’ starter, Ryan Pansch. They continually dodged Shepherd baserunners. Ten Rams were left stranded after only four innings. And they left 13 runners in all.
Shepherd reliever, Brian Martin, went four scoreless innings, helped immensely when left fielder Messina threw out a Hilltopper at the plate to end the fifth.
Martin got the win. He allowed four singles while fanning two and not walking anybody. Matt Copley had a scoreless ninth against the Hilltoppers.
The Shepherd conference record was 8-3 and it occupied second place in the North Division behind Seton Hill.
Messina’s offense had been on display.
And Shepherd had mastered a team that had come to Fairfax Field with a 10-1 conference record. But left with a three-game losing streak and a third-place space in the standings.