After dropping two games at Millersville on Friday, West Chester looked to end the series, and season, with a couple of big wins. Millersville, the crowned PSAC winner, posed the Golden Rams a substantial challenge in the season finale.
Before a pitch was thrown, West Chester honored their graduating seniors on the field. Rob Spekhardt, Dylan Zigman,Chris Pula, Mike Raimo, John Barr, Fred Breidenbach, Matt McAllister, Kyle Weary, and Kyle Frazier were the seniors honored. This graduating class was part of the National Championship run that took place in 2012.
Following the senior day ceremonies, West Chester looked to be on the attack as they struck for two early runs in the first. With no outs and the bases loaded, Tyler Coleman hit a deep sacrifice fly to center to score the game’s first run. Two batters later, true freshman Robert Knox singled to the right to make it a 2-0 deficit.
That would be all the runs West Chester would score in this ball game. Millersville pitching seemed to smell the coffee and wake up. West Chester was mowed down like freshly cut grass from the second to the sixth inning.
On the other end of the spectrum, Millersville’s offense got right to work in the second as they quickly tacked on two runs to tie the game. They would not stop there. They quietly took the lead by slowly adding on runs in the fifth and sixth to make it a 5-2 game.
West Chester looked to stage a comeback in the bottom of the sixth. It all started with a Coleman HBP followed by a Matt Petrizzi single to put the Rams in business. After a wild pitch, Coleman and Petrizzi sat at second and third with no outs just begging to be scored.
The momentum seemed to just disappear as Millersville got three consecutive outs to end the threat. West Chester went down quietly in the bottom of the seventh to end game one in a 5-2 loss.
The Golden Rams would turn it around in game two to end the season with a 6-1 win over the PSAC champions.
The offense may have scored six runs in this game, but the man on the mound shut down Millersville. Junior RHP Ryan Swearingen pitched a stellar game for the Golden Rams. He held a shutout until the top of the seventh when he let up an RBI double which was classified as too little too late. Swearingen scattered 10 hits in seven innings while only allowing just one run. The stat that pops out is the one walk allowed in seven innings. Swearingen was pin point accurate with his pitches as he kept the ball down in the strike zone and forced hitters to get themselves out.
“Swearingen did a phenomenal job,” said team captain Breidenbach, “it’s tough getting the start after three losses and competing. So that was a big deal with him stepping up.”
West Chester’s offense backed up Swearingen’s performance with a hitting frenzy. After the first and second, West Chester attacked in the third inning. Following a Petrizzi double the Rams were set stage for an offensive explosion. Four consecutive runs crossed the plate as Coleman, Pula, Knox, and Spekhardt drove in runs. These were not big time hits the Ram’s batters just put the ball in play and capitalized on the defense’s mistakes. Millersville’s two throwing errors in the third were costly as West Chester jumped to a 4-0 lead that they would not let go of.
With Swearingen holding down Millersville’s offense, West Chester extended their lead in the fourth and fifth by driving in two more runs to make it six runs on the day.
West Chester was able to cap off their season with a win and hopefully provide some momentum going into the PSAC tournament.
“The second game was a good example of just us continuing to play hard and in the end pressure caused their mistakes,” said Breidenbach, “so hopefully that continues in the next level of the season.”
West Chester will be the second seed in the west bracket for the PSAC tournament next week. Their first game will be on Wednesday 9:30 a.m., the team they will play is still to be determined.
Michael Murphy is a first-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at MM802071@wcupa.edu