Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023

Sometimes in baseball, winning can be very ugly. That was exactly the case last Friday when West Chester split a doubleheader against PSAC East rival Kutztown. The Golden Rams managed only three hits in game one, but they were the beneficiaries of four Kutztown errors.

Southpaw Frank Gailey showed why he is considered the staff ace, pitching his first complete game of the year after recovering from a shaky start. Gailey struck out four batters and is now 3-3 on the season.

“We had a couple of bad breaks in that first game,” said Golden Rams head coach Matt Brainard. “Frank hung in there and buckled down. He proved again why he’s our ace.”

Behind 4-0 in the third inning, the Golden Rams mounted their comeback when Brett Wallace, Kyle Bechter and John Molyneux reached on three straight errors. Kutztown’s fielding gaffes resulted in a three-run inning for the Golden Rams, despite allowing a hit.

Wallace tied the game in the fourth inning with an RBI sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Joey Yeager’s single to centerfield knocked in Molyneux from second base. The Golden Rams hung on to the slim lead the rest of the way, winning 5-4.

However, in game two, the Golden Rams weren’t so fortunate.

“We had the opportunity to win both games against a team we know we’ll be challenging for the PSAC East title,” said Brainard.

Wallace’s three-run home run in the first inning put the Golden Rams on top, 4-1. But unlike Gailey in game one, starting pitcher Ryan Gerber was unable to settle down and lasted only one and one-thirds of an inning. Gerber allowed six hits and three earned runs.

“[Kutztown] gained some confidence when they started to put some hits together,” said Brainard. “That’s what happens whenever you play a good team.”

The decisive blow came in the second inning when Kutztown rallied for five runs. The Golden Rams tied the game in the third inning when Mark Gilliford hit a two-run home run. In the fourth inning, the Golden Rams had another scoring threat when they loaded the bases, but were unable to produce.

“It was frustrating,” said Brainard of the missed scoring chances. “We had an opportunity but we didn’t get it done.”

While their bats went silent, the Golden Rams struggled to get out a potent Kutztown line up in game two. Brainard is far from worried, and understands that the young staff is still learning.

“When you have inexperience on your staff, there’s going to be days like this,” he said. “We struggled there, but it’s not a concern right now.”

Gilliford’s home run in the third inning was his fifth of the season, which is best on the team. Wallace remains second on the team after hitting his fourth of the year.

Sean Bond, who leads the team in batting average (.385), went 1-for-6 with an RBI in the doubleheader.

The Golden Rams are now 19-11 on the season and 5-1 in the PSAC East. Due to rain, the latter half of the home-at-home series against Kutztown was postponed until Sunday afternoon. The results were not published in this week’s edition of The Quad because of deadline issues.

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