SHIPPENBURG, Pa. (March 16) – Despite two homers by senior right fielder Sam DiMatteo (Center, Pa./Center) in the nightcap, the California University of Pennsylvania baseball team were swept in a doubleheader at Shippensburg on Tuesday afternoon in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Crossover action, losing both games 9-6.
With the losses, the Vulcans fall to 9-7 overall this season. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders improve to 4-15 after opening with 11 games against nationally-ranked opponents in the early portion of their schedule.
In the opener, Cal U opened the game with a pair of runs in the first. Sophomore center fielder Troy Handza (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a leadoff single and then stole three bases, including home, to give the Vulcans a 1-0 lead. Sophomore second baseman Aaron Ordy (Butler, Pa./Butler) later reached base on a walk before scoring on a two-out single by junior first baseman Adam Links (New Hope, Pa./Central Bucks East). Shippensburg cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first with a leadoff homer by shortstop Ben Miller and had the bases loaded later in the inning before starter Jim Kirker (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette) escaped the inning with a 2-1 lead.
The Vulcans expanded their lead to 6-1 in the top of the fourth with four runs on three hits. After the first two batters reached base safely, freshman catcher Kyle Petty (Stewartsville, N.J./Phillipsburg) lined a two-run double before scoring on a RBI single by junior shortstop Casey Teagarden (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield). Freshman third baseman Evan King (Lancaster, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg), who leads the team with a .447 average (17-of-38) this year, scored the final run of the inning on a fielder’s choice.
Shippensburg responded with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by a three-run longball from right fielder Cody Kulp. The Red Raiders then evened the score in the next inning on a sacrifice fly by Kulp. In the bottom of the seventh, Shippensburg collected back-to-back singles with one out before Miller hit a walk-off three-run homer (second homer of the game).
Junior Sean Welsh (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) suffered his second loss of the season after allowing four runs on four hits and four walks in 2.1 innings of relief. Left-handed reliever Ted Williams (1-2) earned the win for the Red Raiders after throwing three scoreless innings.
In the nightcap, Cal U again took a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run homer by DiMatteo before Shippensburg plated three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. DiMatteo tied the game for the Vulcans when he opened the third with a solo homer (third of the season; 23rd of his career). An All-American last year, DiMatteo was also named PSAC West Hitter of the Week on Tuesday.
The Red Raiders regained the lead after scoring three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 6-3 lead. Cal U cut the deficit with a run in both the fourth and fifth innings with sophomore catcher Anthony Lamont (Clinton, Pa./South Side Beaver) lining a two-out single through the middle in the fifth. Shippensburg expanded its lead in the sixth with a two-out, three-run homer by left fielder Tyler Uphouse, who finished with six RBI.
Sophomore starter August Kerr (Houston, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) sustained the loss after allowing six runs (all earned) on nine hits in 2.2 innings. Shippensburg reliever Jimmy Miller (1-2) earned the win after yielding one run in 2.1 innings.
In Game 2, five players collected multi-hit games with DiMatteo leading the team with three RBI. Links, Lamont, King and Teagarden all added two hits in the victory. Handza was held hitless in the nightcap, snapping his team-best 15-game hitting streak.
The Vulcans return to PSAC West play when they open a four-game set against Mercyhurst, beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, March 19, at CONSOL Energy Park. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.