The Marauders took the field in Shippensburg looking to add to their eight game winning streak on Saturday afternoon, splitting the double header with Ship, each winning a one-run game.
On what was possibly the nicest day this Spring, the Marauders sent starter Chris Murphy to the hill in game one. Extending the winning streak to nine was basically a given, Murphy has been all but unhittable lately, entering the game with a 7-1 record and a 21 inning scoreless streak. After a relatively quiet first two innings, the Marauders were able to get on the board in the top of the third. After a leadoff single by Tyler Orris and two quick outs, Zach Stone ripped a two out double to right-center, plating Orris and giving the Marauder men an early 1-0 lead. Most days, one run would be plenty for Murphy, who carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth. After retiring the first batter, back to back doubles tied the game at one and halted Murphy’s scoreless streak at an incredible 26 1/3 innings.
Though the Marauders have likely grown unaccustomed to having to put up more than one run when Murphy is on the mound, Stone nevertheless made quick work of the tied game, blasting a home run to left with one out in the sixth. Stone’s second RBI of the game was enough for Murphy, who threw his fourth consecutive complete game to improve to 8-1 on the season.
Game two was a completely different story, as both teams seemed to find themselves making solid contact early and often. After jumping to a quick 2-0 lead in the first on another double by Stone, followed by an RBI single by Jeff Heisey, Ship countered with four in their half. Ship junior center fielder Michael Douglas turned on Jim McDade’s first pitch of the afternoon and promptly deposited it over the left field fence, cutting their deficit in half. Three consecutive hits followed by a wild pitch were enough to plate three more for the Raiders, who saw what was a two run deficit quickly turn to a 2 run lead in their favor.
An RBI single by Musser in the top of the second cut the Raiders lead in half, bringing the score to 4-3. Unfortunately for McDade and the Marauders, Ship’s potent offense wasn’t done hitting yet. After entering the game second (only to Millersville) in offense, the Raiders were prepared to do whatever it would take to avoid getting swept in the doubleheader. Douglas showed his versatility by bunting for a one out single and stealing second just one inning after his leadoff homer. A single to center plated two more runs for the Raiders and, after a double put men on second and third, ended Jim McDade’s afternoon.
Entering the top of the third having scored in each of the first two, the Maraders decided to make a trend of it, scoring in their third consecutive inning to keep the game competitive. After a Mark Stuckey sac fly and a single by third basemen Tyler McDonald, sophomore catcher David Pine blasted a two run homer to right to tie the game at six.
A single off redshirt sophomore Jesse Mowen, who replaced the ineffective McDade in the second, plated a run for the Raiders, giving them a 7-6 lead they wouldn’t look back on. After 13 runs were scored collectively in the first four, the last three frames were dominated by pitching, as the Raiders were able to hold on to the 7-6 lead long enough to collect the win and split the double header with Millersville.
Both starters in game two proved to be largely ineffective, each lasting just an inning and a third, allowing a combined nine runs to score. The Marauder’s bullpen looked sharp, including hard-luck loser Mowen (1-2), going the last four and a third allowing just the one earned run.
In what has proven to be an incredible year on the mound, Murphy’s eighth win of the season puts him one above teammate Tim Mayza for the lead in the PSAC. He also leads all PSAC players in shutouts (4), innings pitched (60), is tied for the lead in complete games (5), and ranks second in batting average against (.178).
While Murphy has shined on the mound, Zach Stone has also proved his worth at the plate. After providing the offense for the Marauders in game one by driving in two and crushing his second homer in as many games, Stone sits atop the PSAC leader board with five homers. Additionally, he is behind only California PA’s Kyle Petty in slugging percentage, and sits at sixth in the conference in batting average.
The next game for the Marauders comes Sunday, April 7th against the U Science Devils. First pitch is scheduled for 2 PM.