According to Bloomsburg, March came in like a lamb and came out as, well, a lamb.
The Millersville Marauders (16-8 / 2-0 PSAC East) ventured over Bloomsburg to face the struggling Huskies (4-16 / 0-6 PSAC East) as they took advantage of Bloomsburg’s late-blooming baseball season. On a cold and windy day, the Marauders washed their hands of their opponents 4-1 in game number one, then even more so in game number two, which went in the books as 7-0.
Millersville came out bats-a-blazing, accumulating 21 hits over the course of the day. It seemed destined to happen, as they had only one at least 10-hit game in the last seven, after accomplishing that same feat 11 out of the 15 matchups that opened the season. This, intermingled with solid pitching from juniors Tim Mayza and Tad Barton, whipped up the delicious meals of victory.
“(They) did a phenomenal job,” said Jon Shehan, head coach of the Marauders’ baseball squad. “We build teams around pitching, defense and timely hitting; and I think, if one looks at the statistics right now, it would be hard to argue with stating that this team is built this way.”
Mayza, winner of the first of two games on Friday, tossed 6.1 innings, giving up a mere 3 hits, 1 run, while escorting 7 Huskies back to the bench via strikes. After giving up a run in the first inning, Mayza squelched any hopes the Huskies had of preventing defeat from there-on-out. The left-hander continued his trend of dominant pitching this season; with an obscene .088 ERA (earned run average), Mayza has propelled himself through this spring with a 6-1 record.
In bout number two, Barton one-upped his predecessor on the mound with a complete game, only allowing Bloomsburg to squeak 3 hits and 1 walk through, making his WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) an impermeable 0.57.
Behind the pitchers, nearly pristine fielding was showcased by Millersville, who only tallied one error over the course of the day – such was not the case with the Huskies. With one error in the first, snowballed by four more in the second contest, Bloomsburg’s pitchers were left to fester on the mound, giving up unearned run after unearned run. Jared Schaffer, for instance, had an ERA of 1.67 in game number two, although the box score showed 7 runs next to Millersville’s name.
On the offensive side of the ball, the baseball gods were just as kind to the Marauders. After percolating runs through the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th inning in the early matchup, an onslaught ensued during the evening game. Designated hitter Dan Johnson and right-fielder Jeff Heisey each acquired 4 hits in the two games, trumping the entire Bloomsburg team’s total. With three runs batted in in the 3rd and 5th inning of the latter matchup on Friday, Millersville eased their way to a sweep of the Huskies during the opening sequence of PSAC East play – a start that is vital, according to Shehan.
“Baseball is different than any other intercollegiate sport in that we play a 50-game schedule,” he said. “It is possible to win or lose every day too, no matter who your opponent is.” He continued, “In the PSAC, we play lots of double headers, (so) our goal is to be even-keeled and consistently trying to improve each day. That way, the momentum is always moving in the right direction.”
While Millersville, poised and confident, continues to trek through the season and challenge other members of the PSAC East, Bloomsburg is left with the hopes that April might bring with it some lion-like ferocity from the sheepish – yes, pun intended – post-March club.