Despite scoring two in the opening half of the first inning, those runs proved to be not enough, as the Marauders dropped the opening game of the 2013 season to Winston-Salem State (1-3) with a score of 3-2.
Redshirt junior first basemen Dan Johnson opened the scoring with a two out single up the middle that plated two runs to put Millersville up 2-0 in the first. Unfortunately the offense stalled after that point, failing to produce another run. WSSU junior Peter Shultz settled in after his rough first inning and earned himself a quality start, going six strong innings, allowing just the two runs while fanning three. Opposite Shultz was Millersville junior starting pitcher Tim Mayza, who went a solid 5.1 innings, striking out five and keeping the Rams off the board. After working through the first five innings with relative ease, Mayza ran into some trouble in the sixth, allowing the first two runners to reach base before a sacrifice bunt advanced both into scoring position with just one out. Redshirt sophomore Jesse Mowen was called on from the bullpen to get out of the jam and did just that, striking out two to hold onto a one run lead for the Marauders.
The two teams battled back and forth throughout the game, both spoiling scoring chances: the Marauders left seven on base, the Rams 12. Solid pitching had the Marauders looking at a 2-0 lead entering the eighth. Already having pitched one solid inning, Evan Kirsch allowed the first two runners of the eighth to reach base before he was pulled in favor of Adam Zipko, who walked two before getting a handy double play which scored a run. An error allowed a third run to score, putting the Rams up 3-2 before Zipko struck out the final batter looking to end the rough inning. The Marauders went down 1-2-3 in the ninth, WSSU’s Michael Drye picked up his first save on the season.
After going up by two early on, the Marauders offense faltered, failing to score in the last 8 innings. The one through four hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-13 with three strikeouts, failing to set the table for the rest of the lineup. Additionally, despite an ideal scoring opportunity, runners on second and third with just one out, a costly strikeout followed by a groundout dampened that potential rally. The Marauders failed to advance a runner past second base for the remainder of the game, sticking Zipko (0-1) with his first loss of the season.
The Marauders, coming off of two consecutive PSAC Tournament berths, look to get back on track in game two of the three game set in North Carolina on Saturday at 1 PM, where Jim McDade hopes to out duel WSSU’s Jordan Carlton (1-1, 4.50).