Shore Bats Hot in Game One, Fizzle in Game Two
Hawks Once Again Dominate Early Game of Doubleheader, Drop Second Match
SALISBURY, Maryland – Much like the previous day before, the Maryland Eastern Shore baseball team played two vastly different games on Saturday (March 26) against visiting Delaware State University. The Shore (5-16, 4-4 MEAC) drubbed the Hornets (6-10, 3-5 MEAC) 11-2 in the first half of the getaway doubleheader but couldn’t muster the bats in game two, falling 3-2 to split the day and the homestand.
“I think we’re making good strides,” head coach Brian Hollamon said. “It doesn’t always show it in wins and losses, but we’re a good baseball team, we’re a tough baseball team. I think teams are going to have their hands full.”
The Hawks got the scoring started in the second inning of the game when Ryan Howe reached first on an error by Hornets starting pitcher Jordan Haddaway and was moved along by a Brantley Cutler single. Marcus Brown continued his hot weekend with a single himself, scoring Howe on an unearned run to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the third, the Hawks grabbed two more runs thanks to another error by Haddaway advancing Brian Cordell to second following his leadoff walk, then he hit Widdowson on a pitch to put runners on first and second. Howe hit a single to load the bases before Cutler knocked in Cordell and Widdowson to make it 3-0 Hawks.
“We did a great job swinging the bat, a lot of guys with multiple hits,” Hollamon said. “The guy that threw, Haddaway, is a tough guy, it felt like we were locked in when we faced him.”
A big inning came for the Shore in the fifth when the Delaware State pitchers went wild and hit four Hawks, while also committing a balk, in addition to catcher Mason Brown having a ball get by him. Howe would pick up an RBI in the inning with a double to drive in Dillon Oxyer, Andrew Revels picking up one on a pinch-hit single, his first at-bat in a month since an injury against Albany and Nick Roets by being hit himself.
By the end of the sixth, the Hawks held an 11-1 lead, with the Hornets picking up just one more run in the seventh with a pinch-hit double. Pitcher Derrick Rabb Jr. finished his complete game with six strikeouts to one walk and two earned runs against him.
“Derrick stayed ahead of hitters and that’s what made life a lot easier for him,” Hollamon said.
It was a much different story for the Hawk bats in the second game, nearly being no-hit by Delaware State starter Zach Dale, who blanked the Shore in the hit column until the bottom of the sixth inning.
“It felt like we were a little hesitant in the second game, taking five innings to get our first hit,” Hollamon said.
Delaware State grabbed an early two-run lead with a walk, double and single against starter Noah Covington in the second inning – although the junior was solid in his complete-game effort with five strikeouts to one walk and just two earned in the loss.
The Shore was able to pick one run-up in the bottom of the third when Roets drew a walk, along with Riley Horner to put two men on. Both advanced to scoring position on a throwing error by Dale trying to pick off Roets at second that went into the outfield before walking Cutler to load the bases. Oxyer came to bat with one out and hit a sacrifice fly to right field which would drive in Roets to make it a 2-1 game in favor of the Hornets.
Nothing was working for the Hawks’s offense, then a short patch of weather would lead to a pair of two-out errors by the Shore directly giving the Hornets the winning run in the sixth. A ball slipped off the glove of the third baseman, Horner, on a typically routine play putting Hornet third baseman Alan Alonso on base – who then would steal second.
As the winds were picking up and sleet made an appearance, a high pop-up behind second by Krew Bouldin slipped off Roets glove and had Alonso crossing home plate.
“We made that one mistake that cost us that third run, which really cost us the game,” Hollamon said. “That was at the same time that the sleet and rain were coming down, the sun was coming out, it was a tough thing and it made a mess of that play, giving up a run.”
Howe was finally able to break the Hornet no-hitter with a two-strike single up the middle, allowing the Hawks to gain a bit of momentum. Howe made it to third after Cutler walked on a ball four wild pitch, then Revels had another pinch-hit RBI single to center to drive Howe in.
The momentum wasn’t enough for the Hawks though, as they left three on in the sixth inning and then once again loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, only to end the game on a three-pitch strikeout.
“We had plenty of opportunities, we had the bases loaded twice and only came away with one run in the sixth and seventh,” Hollamon said. “We tend to get guys in scoring position, we just have to get that big hit.”
The Hawks are back on the field this Wednesday (March 30) on the back half of a home-and-home against George Washington University. When the teams first met on March 16, the Hawks fell 10-3 to the Colonials, keeping the game tight until a four-run eighth against them, taking the wind away for the Shore.
“Our goal is starting at one level and be a much better team by the end of the year, I think we’re doing that progressively,” Hollamon said. “We’re going to continue to make that progress, I don’t think we’re going to peak, I think we’re going to keep going.”
Wednesday’s game starts at 3 p.m. at Perdue Stadium, keep up with the action on Twitter via @eshawksbase.