The Marauders entered Wednesday afternoon’s doubleheader against Kutztown winners of five of their previous six. Though Kutztown was able to pull off a 3-1 win in the opener, the Marauders fought back to even the score, winning game two on a Dan Johnson walk off single in the bottom of the seventh.
Game one of the twin bill pitted Millersville starter Logan Grant against Mike Kammerer of the Golden Bears. Despite entering the game with a subpar 7-12 record against PSAC opponents and a team ERA more than a full point higher than Millersville’s, the Golden Bears were able to hold the Marauders to just one run.
Kutztown jumped out to a two run lead in the third inning after an RBI groundout and a clutch two out single. The Marauders were able to cut their deficit to one when Dan Johnson lined a single to left, plating Tyler Orris. In a bit of a bind with two on and one out, Kammerer was able to pick Zach Stone off of second base and get Alex Ramsay to ground out to preserve the Golden Bears’ thin lead.
Unfortunately for the Marauders, that was the only offense they would be able to muster up in the game. The combination of Kammerer and Kutztown closer Matt Swarmer held the Marauders to just six baserunners spread out across seven innings of work, fanning five. Grant went 6.2 strong innings for the Marauders, allowing 3 earned runs to score while fanning seven. In the process of his quality start, the redshirt freshman also issued five free passes, running his pitch count up to 116 before he was pulled with two outs in the seventh.
Game two continued the control issues that plagued the Marauders in game one. Freshman starter Steven Ghiardi walked five in his second collegiate start across three innings, allowing two runs. The bullpen picked up any and all slack however, shutting down the Golden Bears through the final four innings before Dan Johnson ripped a walk off single in the bottom of the seventh.
Given his propensity for go-ahead RBIs, it was only fitting that Dan Johnson started off the scoring of game two with an RBI single in the first, giving the Marauders an early 1-0 lead.
The Golden Bears were able to claim the lead in the top of the second as Ghiardi struggled with his command. After a strikeout and groundout to begin the inning, Ghiardi walked the next two batters before allowing an RBI single, putting Golden Bears on first and third with two down. A five pitch walk loaded the bases, putting two in scoring position for Kutztown. After firing two quick strikes to start the at bat, Ghiardi uncorked four straight balls to walk in the Golden Bears second run of the inning. A first-pitch pop up allowed the Marauders to escape with no further damage.
The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth when Zach Stone lead off the inning by taking a 2-1 pitch and launching it over the left field fence to tie the game.
Jumping forward to the bottom of the seventh, the Marauders had an excellent opportunity to walk-off with the meat of their order due up in 2-3-4 hitters Tyler Orris, Zach Stone and Dan Johnson. The Marauders needed just ten pitches to put the game away with three straight singles, the last of which drove Orris home from second and gave the Marauders their 27th win of the season.
The Marauders bullpen was able to come up big in game two when control issues lead to their starter, Steven Ghiardi being pulled after three innings and 76 pitches. The team of Cody Stoneback, Matt Binder and Adam Zipko pitched the final four innings, keeping the Golden Bears hitless while fanning five.
Zipko earned the win, improving to 3-0, while Kutztown’s Colin Holmes was stuck with the loss, falling to 2-4 on the year.
The Marauders next game comes Friday, at home once again, this time hosting Mansfield. Game one of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m.