Seventh-inning rally falls short; Jays 0-3

Kyle Fowler February 27, 2013 0

On another cold and windy winter afternoon, the men’s baseball team traveled to Flemington, N.J. to take on the Cougars of Misericordia University. The Blue Jays were set for a doubleheader against the Cougars, the defending Freedom Conference Champion and an NCAA tournament qualifier last season.
Senior Matt Ruth led the Jays from the mound. He held the Cougars’ offense to zero runs through the first two innings of play. The score was finally broken in the bottom of the third as the Cougars’ offense opened up with a double from Chris Boroch driving in his teammate with an RBI double. The four-run inning for the Cougars ended with a two-run shot from Steve Sulcoski. The Cougars increased their lead to eight in the fourth and fifth innings. The Blue Jays finally ended the shutout as first-year Sean Jones hit an RBI single to center field that drove in senior Kyle Gable. Shortly after, sophomore Tyler Weary would begin what was to be an impressive afternoon for him. Weary hit a two-run RBI double to drive in teammates Jones and senior Dillon Tagle. He even crossed the plate himself this inning on a fielding error by the Cougars. “I had two strikes on me with runners on, so I was just trying to put the ball in play and hopefully advance the runners,” Weary said. The Jays had cut the lead in half and were now trailing 8-4. First-year relief pitcher Dylan Manning came in for Ruth, striking out four and finishing the game as the Jays lost the first game to the Cougars 9-6.
Sophomore Kris Davis took his first start this season on the mound as the Jays were set to start game two. Sophomore Alex Holbert started off the bats for the Jays with a single to lead off the first inning. He soon crossed home plate from a two-out RBI single from Jones. The Cougars were quick to respond, however, and took a 3-1 lead heading into the top of the fourth inning. Weary again showed his composure at bat when the team needed it. Weary stepped up and drove a two run homer, the first of his career, deep over the left field wall tying the score at three a piece. Weary said, “Hitting my first college homerun was a great feeling, I am not a power hitter so it was pretty surprising to me.” The Cougars scored five runs in the fifth inning, but the Jays showed character and heart, battling back to make it a 9-7 game in the seventh inning. After all their clawing and battling to retake the lead, the Jays made a few errors in the ninth that would prove costly in their sixteen to seven loss to the Cougars.
After the game Weary said, “Our mindset was to go out and compete. We knew the other team hit the ball well and were fundamentally sound so we knew we had to hit well in order to compete.” There were a few errors made by the Blue Jays, but Weary was quick to point out the positives that came out of it. Weary stated, “We did have some guys who did have good appearances at the plate and these games gave us a reality check and can help us prepare for the future. We showed fight in the later innings as we started to rally back, which was good.
Character and heart were two key things that were evident from the Blue Jays. First-year pitcher Jay Singer elaborated on this in an interview after the game,“We always try to have a focused, upbeat and positive attitude. Our coach put a rule in place that is used by Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, which states that we have 30 minutes after a game to be upset, happy, angry, etc. After 30 minutes, we remain optimistic and focus on the next day, whether it be practice or a game.”
The Blue Jays needed to focus because the next day they were back on the road to face Shenandoah University, currently ranked 23rd. “After two tough losses today, we need to remain optimistic about facing a tough Shenandoah team tomorrow. Both Shenandoah and Misericordia are some of the best DIII teams in the nation, so we need to keep in mind that we are facing tough competition to begin our season, but we can’t let that scare us,” Singer said.
Etown put up a tough fight against Shenandoah. The Jays put up a quick 3-0 lead, but in the bottom of the second, Shenandoah had a huge eight-run inning. Going into the final inning, the Jays were down 13-9, but Tagle and sophomore Ryan Haggerty each hit three-run homeruns. An RBI from Gable tied up the score and forced the Hornets to respond. However, Shenandoah had a big inning as well and ended up winning 18-13.

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