By MICHAEL HARVEY
The University of Mary Washington baseball team swept a doubleheader against Gallaudet University last Sunday, March 25, posting 9-1 and 4-0 victories. The Eagles’ pitching was stellar in both games, allowing just one run and five hits total in the pair of contests.
In game one, UMW junior pitcher Torey Mancari turned in a dominating performance. The 6’2” lefty returned the Bison hitters to their dugout left and right on his way to a career-high 15 strikeouts, just two K’s shy of the single-game school record. Mancari was on top of his game from the start, as he retired the first 12 batters he faced. After surrendering his only two hits and giving up his lone run in the fifth inning, the junior mowed down the final eight batters he faced to close out the game.
While Mancari toed the rubber, his offense did plenty of damage at the plate to provide ample run support for their pitcher. The Eagles scored five runs in the first five innings and closed the game out in the sixth with an additional four runs.
Although Mancari noted, “as a pitcher your job is to just pitch regardless of the score whether the team is winning or losing,” he admitted that run support does seem to make his job easier by relieving some pressure.
Mancari’s teammates appear to feel the same relief when he is on the mound.
“Torey is a pitcher with a lot of talent,” senior second baseman Shane Sixsmith said. “Every time he gets a start we know we have a chance to win because he gives the team his all.”
That confidence appeared to heat up the Eagles’ bats in the third inning when they strung together four straight hits and Ben Sisk followed with a sacrifice fly. After adding a couple of runs in the fifth inning, a 2-RBI single from Sixsmith and another RBI knock from Sisk in the sixth inning sealed the victory. Sixsmith led UMW in the opener in hits, runs and RBI.
The Eagles used the momentum from game one to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of game two.
“Winning the first game of a doubleheader brings a lot of confidence to the team,” Mancari said. “The attitude in the dugout stays positive and keeps everyone loose and more motivated to win the next game.”
The Eagles were able to harness that motivation and maintain their high level of play the rest of the way to capture another win. Junior pitcher Mike Straub threw 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits in his outing. Straub was pulled in the sixth after he walked a pair and hit another to load the bases, forcing head coach Tom Sheridan to call on senior Zach Hendrix to put out the fire. Hendrix took the mound and immediately induced a double play to end the Gallaudet threat. Hendrix came on again in the seventh to close things out and earned his first save of the season.
The Eagles offense saw their hit output cut in half in the second game, but they did walk five times and still churned out four runs. Designated hitter Seth Jordan led the way for UMW in the late game, as he hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning and smoked an RBI double in the third.
The two victories were Mary Washington’s first since March 4, when they split a doubleheader against Frostburg State University. The Eagles then went on a five-game skid until they returned to winning form this Sunday. Sixsmith attributed the previous losses to the fact that UMW had “either, great pitching and not timely hitting, or vise versa.” However, everything came together Sunday and that allowed the Eagles to find their way back to the win column.
The baseball team improved to 7-10-1 after their sweep of the Bison. They returned to action yesterday afternoon and lost 9-1 against Randolph-Macon College. Mary Washington will next take the field this Saturday and Sunday as they take on St. Mary’s College in a 3-game set.