UVa-Wise claimed an 11-5 victory over MEC rival Shepherd University in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday before the Rams took game two, 9-7.
Shepherd (14-7, 8-2) took an early lead in the opening game. Shepherd shortstop Tre Porter hit a home run in the first to give the Rams the lead. Later in the first, Rob Farley added a home run of his own, making the score 2-0.
UVa-Wise (12-14, 2-8) would answer in the third inning after Tye Marshall knocked a two-run single, followed by Vinny Kuchenbuch’s one-run single.
The Cavs would add on in the fourth after Ty Lighton drove in David Thomas with a bunt single. Steve Klaiber then scored Lighton and Ryan Dickt on a two-run single to make the score 6-2.
Porter would make the score 6-4 in the fifth inning after his two-run blast over the left field wall for his second home run of the game. Christian Hammel cut the lead to 6-5 later in the inning as he knocked in JJ Sarty.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Cavs added two more runs as Kuchenbuch doubled to score Marshall and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Wright.
After a scoreless top of the sixth by reliever Kenny Ball, Ben Coffman hit a three-run double in the bottom of the inning.
Ball collected his first save of the season by posting another zero in the top of the seventh.
UVa-Wise starter Jared Finch improved to 2-5, pitching five innings and giving up five runs. Finch threw 86 pitches, struck out six and walked one.
Shepherd starter A.J. Stead fell to 3-1 while giving up six runs over four innings, walking two and hitting one.
Kuchenbuch and Marshall led the offense for the Cavs in game one as both notched three hits and two RBI’s.
In game two, Shepherd once again scored in the opening inning. The Cavs committed two errors which allowed the Rams to score four unearned runs.
The Cavs would answer quickly, however, as they picked up three runs in the bottom half of the inning after a Klaiber RBI single and a Shepherd error scored two for Wise.
The Shepherd lead increased to 5-3 in the top of the second on a Sarty sacrifice fly.
In the top of the fourth, Porter would smack his third home run of the day to extend Shepherd’s lead to 6-3.
Wise would cut the lead to 6-4 in the fifth on a RBI single by Thomas. However, the run would quickly be gained back by Shepherd after a Brandon Kirk hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth to make the score 7-4.
In the top of the eighth, Carney singled in Kirk to make the lead 8-4. In the bottom of the inning, Coffman hit a two-run single followed by a RBI from Marshall and the lead was cut to 8-7 going into the ninth inning.
A walk, an error and a hit in the top of the ninth pushed the Ram lead to 9-7 going into the last half inning of the game.
The Cavs would get two infield singles in the ninth, but Jamie Driver came out of the bullpen for the Rams and recorded the save.
Shepherd starter Collin Benner improved to 3-0, tossing seven innings while giving up four runs, striking out six, walking two and surrendering 11 hits.
Freshman Cavalier starter Justin Zaferakis fell to 1-2, allowing five runs (one earned), struck out three and gave up two hits in only three innings.
Coffman and Lighton both recorded three hits for the Cavs in the losing effort. Porter had three hits, two runs scored and a RBI for the Rams.
UVa-Wise will continue their season and look to build off of their closely contested doubleheader last Saturday.