Rams dismantle Hilltoppers a third time

WEST LIBERTY— After long-time Coach Wayne Riser registered his 500th career wins at Shepherd the afternoon before when the Rams swept a conference doubleheader from West Liberty, his team came back on Saturday and ran away from the shellshocked Hilltoppers, 19-3, to complete a three-game weekend swept of the tailend team in the North Division of the WVIAC.

In Riser’s 501st win at Shepherd, the Rams rattled 17 hits around Kovalick Field. Third baseman Travis Sluger enjoyed his most productive game of the season going 4-for-5 while driving in in five runs and scoring five runs. Michael Lott was 3-for-5, Jake Cook was 3-for-6, and Nash Hutter was 3-for-6. Butter drove in four runs and Aaron Scoville had three RBIs.

West Liberty committed six errors in the rout and five of the Shepherd runs were unearned. An eight-run fourth inning boosted Shepherd’s lead to 10-0. Hutter and Sluger had Rams’ homers. Shepherd also had four doubles.

Paul Hvozdovic went five innings for the win. He left with a 12-0 lead. Hvozdovic improved his record to 8-2 and his ERA to 2.78.

Shepherd first baseman Nathan Minnich went 1-for-2 and emerged from the weekend leading the nation in batting with a .531 average. Minnich is also the nation’s NCAA Division II leader with 16 home runs, 108 total bases and a 1.102 slugging percentage. His 34 walks are also the most in the country as his is .671 on-base percentage.

Shepherd was 22-11 overall with its latest win. Its conference record was 14-4 and it trailed only nationall ranked Seton Hill in its division of the WVIAC.

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