On Saturday, the Marauder baseball team split a doubleheader with Mansfield, dropping game one to the Mountaineers 9-5 before taking game two by a score of 6-1.
After the ceremony to rename what was Marauder Park, the Marauders put the ball in the hand of ace Tim Mayza, hoping to christen the newly named Cooper Park with a win.
An early 2-0 lead would normally be enough for Mayza who entered the game with a sparkling 8-1 record. The Mountaineers however jumped on Mayza in the fourth, turning what was a 2-0 Marauder lead into a 3-2 deficit. All three of Mansfield’s runs in the fourth came with two outs as they were able to capitalize on some uncharacteristic wildness from Mayza.
From there, the game belonged to the Mountaineers. After Mayza left after allowing a two out single in the fifth, the Marauders bullpen struggled to keep the game within striking distance. After getting the last out of the fifth inning, Jesse Mowen failed to retire a batter in the sixth, allowing each of the four hitters he faced to reach base. Josh Mellon, who relieved Mowen, allowed the only hitter he faced to reach base on a bunt single, driving in the third run of the inning and pushing Mansfield’s lead to 6-2.
After tacking on two more in their half of the seventh, the Mountaineers’ pitching slipped a bit in the bottom half, allowing an RBI single to Dan Johnson and a two out, two run homer to Mark Stuckey. The centerfielder’s third homer of the year brought the score to within four runs before a fly out ended the game.
Mayza, normally one of the best pitchers in the conference, slipped a bit against Mansfield, walking five and unleashing a wild pitch in 4.2 innings pitched. Three errors and a struggling bullpen didn’t help Mayza, who saw his record fall to 8-2 on the year.
After struggling in game one, game two was a completely different story for the Marauders. Mansfield was able to plate an unearned run in the top of the first off of ‘Ville starter Tad Barton after an error and a single up the middle. This was all the offensive production the Mountaineers would muster on the day as Barton spun his most dominant game to date.
With two outs and a full count, Dan Johnson laced a double to left center, tying the game at one in the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the second the Marauders were able to take the lead after a triple down the right field line by Tyler Orris scored two. A single by Evan King on the very next pitch drove in Orris and pushed the score to 4-1.
The next three innings passed quietly, with pitching dominating for both schools. The Marauders were able to add some insurance runs to back Barton’s excellent outing on a squeeze by David Pine and King’s second RBI single of the day. Mansfield went down quietly in the seventh at the hands of Barton, closing the door on a 6-1 victory and pushing the Marauders record to 28-11 on the season.
Barton flashed a preview of what may be seen in the upcoming PSAC Tournament as the team’s third starter. His third complete game of the season was also his most dominant; allowing just one unearned run on four hits, fanning 10. Evan King and Tyler Orris lead the offense in game two, each recording a multi-hit game and driving in two.
On Sunday the Marauders will travel to Mansfield for another doubleheader to complete the four game series. First pitch is scheduled for 1 in the afternoon.