Rams crack regional top-10 after four-game sweep of West Virginia State

SHEPHERDSTOWN – The Shepherd University baseball program has joined the Division II regional hierarchy after sweeping back-to-back doubleheaders against West Virginia State last weekend in Shepherdstown.

The Rams broke into the Atlantic Region rankings on Monday tied for 10th. Shepherd, which wasn’t previously ranked, swept a four-game homestand last week against the Yellow Jackets, outscoring West Virginia State by a combined 33-16.

Shepherd senior designated hitter Ryan Messina (left) talks to the Rams’ first base coach March 15 after hitting a single against Concord.

Shepherd senior designated hitter Ryan Messina (left) talks to the Rams’ first base coach March 15 after hitting a single against Concord.

The Rams (14-7, 12-4 Mountain East Conference) are tied with West Liberty atop the league standings. Shepherd is scheduled to return to action Wednesday with a doubleheader at West Virginia Wesleyan. The Rams will return home Saturday for the first of two doubleheaders scheduled for this coming weekend.

Fellow Mountain East Conference program Concord is ranked sixth in the latest regional poll. The Rams and Mountain Lions (14-8, 11-5) split a four-game series earlier this month in Shepherdstown.

Last weekend, junior catcher and infielder Spencer Wolfe led the Rams to a four-game series sweep over West Virginia State, going 6-for-11 at the plate and scoring eight runs. Wolfe also drove in six runs as half of his hits went for extra bases with a home run and two doubles. He also stole three bases and was named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week.

The Rams won the first game Friday, 7-5, as senior lefthander Paul Hvozdovic pitched six innings and surrendered three earned runs. Hvozdovic scattered eight hits and fanned three while allowing no walks. Sophomore Ryan Pansch earned the save after pitching one inning in relief and allowing three hits, but also striking out the side.

Shepherd won the second game Friday, 14-4, behind six innings pitched by sophomore Jamie Driver, who allowed nine hits and four earned runs. Driver fanned five and walked two, but it was the Rams’ 16-hit attack that stole the show.

Junior outfielder Matt Wilson and freshmen second baseman Jacob Carney had four hits apiece, while Wolfe and senior outfielder Michael Lott each added two hits. Carney, Lott and senior designated hitter Ryan Messina all drove in three runs.

In the first game Saturday, Wilson and senior outfielder Kyle Porter notched three hits apiece as Shepherd defeated West Virginia State, 7-4. Messina and junior catcher Jason Hepple each had two hits, and Porter drove in the first two runs of a four-run fourth inning.

Junior Bryan DiRosario earned the victory for Shepherd after pitching the last 3.2 innings, scattering six hits and allowing two earned runs. Freshman starting pitcher Mac West threw three scoreless innings, while allowing three hits and four walks.

In Saturday’s nightcap, junior Austin Hale pitched six innings and surrendered one unearned run on four hits en route to a 5-3 victory. Pansch picked up his second save of the season after getting the final out of the game. Reliever Brian Martin got into trouble trying to close out the seventh inning as the Yellow Jackets scored two runs on four hits.

Wilson notched a two-run homer in the first inning, while Lott and Hepple added two hits apiece for Shepherd.


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