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Millersville splits with West Chester

Marauders got great pitching in game one but struggle in game two against West Chester on Saturday afternoon at Cooper Park. Photo courtesy of MU Athletics.

Brian Markley
Staff Writer

It was a beautiful day for baseball at Cooper Park on Saturday, April 20th as the Marauders took on PSAC rivals West Chester. During the pre-game ceremonies, the Marauders recognized alumni member Michael VanGavree who remains the only Marauder to ever lead the nation in hitting. The third base dugout is now named after VanGavree in appreciation of his contributions to the University.

Eli Nabholz was on the bump for the Marauders in game one, and he cruised through the first few innings. The Marauders struck first in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a leadoff single from Jimmy Losh. Losh was then driven in by Cole Friese who tripled over the center fielder’s head. Friese then scored off of a single hit by Kaylor Kulina. The Marauders picked up another run on a hard-hit ball off of the pitcher’s foot off of the bat of Eric Callahan.

West Chester answered with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning. Senior Joe Zirolli tagged a ball and sent it over the left field fence for a two-run home run, cutting the Marauder lead to one.

The Marauders responded with a crafty safety squeeze bunt that ended up scoring a run. The Marauders took advantage of the mistakes that West Chester made, and they tacked on two more runs through an error and a pair of walks, giving them a 6-2 lead going into the top of the fifth.

Nabholz was hard to hit after he gave up the home run back in the fourth, and he shut down the Golden Rams in the fifth with two strikeouts. After giving up a leadoff single in the sixth, Nabholz topped his day off by striking out Zirolli, who homered off of him earlier.

The Marauder took game one by a score of 6-2. Nabholz went the distance and improved to 7-1 and tallied five strikeouts and only allowing two runs. Cole Friese went 2-3 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. Kaylor Kulina went 2-2 and drove in a run.

Game two featured Junior Drew Miller on the mound, and he was pounding the strike zone for the majority of his outing. He picked up four strikeouts over the three innings that he pitched and did not allow a run.

The story of game two was West Chester’s Jon Fisher, who pitched a complete game and struck out eight Marauders. Millersville was able to get a run off of him in the fourth as Jimmy Cain drove a double to right field, scoring Ben Snyder.

The Marauder bullpen held the Golden Rams offense for a majority of the game until Jared Melone hit a two-run home run down the right field line, giving West Chester a 2-1 lead.

Fisher refused to let go of the late lead he was gifted and shut down the Marauders’ offense in the sixth and seventh innings, and West Chester took game two in a tight one, 2-1.

This is only the second loss that the Marauders have suffered in conference play, and they still hold on to the top spot in the PSAC East.