On Saturday afternoon, the Marauder baseball team pulled off two huge victories over #12 ranked Kutztown on the road.
Entering the four-game weekend set with Kutztown (22-7, 11-3 PSAC) sitting atop the conference, the Marauders (26-9, 9-1 PSAC) came out playing hard, taking the first two games of the weekend series by scores of 3-1 and 5-4. Along with Kutztown and West Chester, the Marauders traveled to Kutztown with only one conference loss on the season.
The Marauders handed the ball to ace Tim Mayza to kick off the series, looking to start off on the right foot. After the first three innings passed relatively quietly, the Marauders started the scoring in the top of the fourth on a two-run homer by Dan Johnson. Those two runs were all that Mayza would need, ultimately. The Kutztown hitters looked off balance all night, failing to plate a run until their half of the seventh inning.
A squeeze by Jeff Heisey in the sixth added an insurance run, increasing the Marauders lead to 3-0, the only other run in the game would come off of home run by Kutztown DH Joe Peters to lead off the seventh. Mayza set down the next three hitters in order to seal a 3-1 victory, giving Kutztown their second conference loss of the season.
The 3-4-5 hitters for the Marauders, Zach Stone, Johnson, and Heisey, were a combined 6-7, providing all the offense for the team by knocking in and scoring each of the three runs. Stone, a redshirt junior, has been a force with the bat this season, leading the Marauders in homers, doubles, slugging percentage, batting average, runs, and total bases.
Game two had the Marauders Tad Barton (5-2) take the hill against Kutztown’s Colin Holmes (3-1). Though he entered the game having yet to be stuck with a loss, the Marauders jumped on Holmes early and often, forcing him out of the game after just four innings. Barton pitched just well enough to ensure a Marauder victory, going 5.2 innings allowing four earned, striking out three while walking two.
A costly error in the first by Kutztown shortstop John Dockins plated an early run for the Marauders, giving them a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. In their half, however, Kutztown rallied back, capitalizing on some wildness by Barton to score three, giving the Golden bears a 3-1 lead.
Entering the second, the Marauders showed that their conference best offense wasn’t about to quit. A one out single to right center by Evan King cut the Kutztown lead in half, driving in David Pine. After King swiped second base, catcher Kurt Seiders doubled down the leftfield line, knocking in two and putting the Marauders back on top 4-3.
After three quiet innings dominated by pitching King once again came through in the clutch, lacing a two out double to right center to give Barton a little more breathing room, pushing the score to 5-3. It quickly became evident that King’s double would prove to be important when a sac fly pushed another run home for the Golden Bears, cutting the lead to 5-4 and ending Barton’s day. Fortunately for the Marauders, closer Adam Zipko was dominant, shutting the door on the Golden Bears with two strikeouts in his 1.1 innings pitched, notching his sixth save of the year.
Game two of the series saw Zach Stone tally four more hits, giving him six hits for the day. Evan King and Kurt Seiders knocked in two runs a piece and third basemen Tyler McDonald added three hits of his own to help back Barton in the pivotal second game of the doubleheader.
The Marauders and Golden Bears aren’t done yet, on Sunday they travel to Marauder Park to play yet another doubleheader which will feature Chris Murphy and Jim McDade on the mound for the Marauders. The first pitch of game one is slated for 1 p.m. and can be listened to on the Marauder Sports Broadcasting Network (MSBN).