The West Chester University baseball team earned their first sweep of the season over visiting PSAC East opponent Mansfield on Friday afternoon at Serpico Stadium and captured their fourth straight Bill Giles championship over Wilmington. The Golden Rams got off to a terrible start in game one as they found themselves trailing 7-2 early on. WCU chipped away at the score posting two runs in the bottom of the third and another pair in the fourth to draw within one (7-6). In the fifth inning, Mansfield starter Eric Rosenberger (5-1) got roughed up by WCU’s bats. Rosenberger was chased from the game after allowing six runs and suffered his first loss of the season.

WCU’s first six batters each reached base and would eventually score during the fifth inning. Third basemen Josh Heyne hit a two-run single, followed by a two-run double from Dylan Zigman. Reid Pulford and Jack Provine each added RBI singles of their own to round out the stanza.

Rosenberger’s implosion on the mound was a rare sight for Mansfield. He was charged with 11 hits and 12 runs, 10 of which were earned, and five walks. He faced 27 West Chester batters and was unable to record a punch-out for the first time this season.

Chris Pula finished game one with three RBIs. Provine went 3-for-4 with three RBIs as well. Brandon Wolfe was 2-for-2 with a RBI and two runs scored to help push WCU past Mansfield in game one by a score of 12-7.

Jordan Lehman (3-4) pitched 5 1/3 innings in relief for the Golden Rams to pick up the win in game one. He allowed two runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out five Mansfield batters. Conor Kerins started the game and lasted only 1 2/3 innings. He yielded five runs, just one of them earned, on two hits. He walked three and struck out two. Kerins is still working his way back from undergoing Tommy John surgery in the off-season.

Dylan Porter (4-2) started on the hill and stole the show in game two of Friday’s doubleheader at Serpico Stadium. Porter out-dueled Mansfield’s pitcher Joe Candelmo (4-3). Porter surrendered one run and gave up five hits in a complete-game effort. He walked three and struck out six. Candelmo also pitched a complete game scattering eight hits, giving up two runs and striking out four without walking a batter.

“What was working best for me was mixing up the pitches and the location, moving in and out on hitters,” Porter said. “I give most of the credit to my teammates. They made my job easy and they did most of the work. They played hard, hustled and led me through the game.”

Pulford was 2-for-3 in game two while Wolfe drove in a pair of runs and went 1-for-2 at the plate. West Chester had two errors in each game on Friday afternoon. The two errors in game one caused Kerins to leave the game early. Fortunately in game two, WCU’s errors did not ruin a stellar pitching performance by Porter.

West Chester blanked No. 23 Wilmington University, 3-0, to claim the 11th Annual Bill Giles Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Five Golden Rams pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout. WCU has now won its fourth straight Bill Giles championship and eighth overall while avenging a loss to Wilmington (26-4) in the process.

When playing at Citizens Bank Park, the Golden Rams are a perfect 6-0. Josh Barr (2-1) picked up the win on the mound for WCU. Joe Gunkel recorded his second save of the season, pitching the eighth and ninth innings. Heyne doubled and scored in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Provine. WCU was able to successfully convert a pair of sacrifice bunts to score the other run in the ballgame.

WCU’s offense was held to just five hits; however, they came out on top. West Chester has now improved its record to 18-17 overall and 8-10 in the PSAC East. Their first PSAC sweep of the season could not have come at a better time. WCU currently sits in fourth place in the PSAC East behind Shippensburg (14-20, 7-7), East Stroudsburg (21-8, 7-5) and first place Millersville (27-7, 14-4).

Provine has stayed hot in the last couple weeks. He is the only Golden Rams hitter to have a batting average over .400 (.403). He has six doubles and 20 RBIs and an impressive slugging percentage of .597. If WCU gets into the playoffs they will have to count on Provine at the top of the order to get on base in front of guys like Joe Wendle and Wolfe.

While first and second place may be out of reach, they are in the hunt for third place in the PSAC. The Golden Rams will end their PSAC East regular season schedule with a home-and-home series against fifth place Kutztown on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23.

“We are playing good baseball and everyone is playing up tempo. I believe if we keep playing like this we will go farther than people expect from us,” Porter said.

Friday WCU will travel to Kutztown, and on Saturday both teams will be in town to play at Serpico Stadium. Games will start at 1:00 and 3:30 p.m.

(Facts and statistics in this article exclude the results of Sunday, April 17 games against Mansfield.)

Steven Fisher is a fourth-year student majoring in communications. He can be reached at sf674180@wcupa.edu.

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