By Brad Fauber
WINCHESTER -- Third baseman Michael Paul continued his torrid streak at the plate for Shenandoah University on Monday, as the No. 18 Hornets rolled past visiting Dickinson College (Pa.), 14-5, in a nonconference game at Bodie Grim Field at Jim Barnett Park.
Paul, who extended his hitting streak to 22 consecutive games on Monday, was 4-for-5 at the plate with a home run, a double and seven RBIs.
"Honestly it's pretty surreal. I've never hit this well before," said Paul, who is batting .500 this season and earned his second straight Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Week award just prior to Monday's game. "The numbers I put up last year, I've already topped or tied it with home runs and RBIs. It's just a different feeling. I'm so comfortable at the plate, solely because I know there are guys on in front of me where I can drive them in. ... It just puts me in a really good place at the plate."
Paul's first at-bat of the day in the bottom of the first inning set the tone for the day the junior would have at the plate, as he sent a 2-2 fastball from Red Devils starting pitcher Jimmy Robertson over the fence in centerfield for a three-run homer, his fifth of the season. Paul's home run gave Shenandoah an immediate answer for the run Dickinson (14-2) scored off Hornets starter Mike Scimanico in the top of the first.
"I really knew that we needed to jump on them, especially since they got that run in the first inning," Paul said. "... I heard the catcher come inside, and I wasn't really expecting them to, but at that point you don't expect off-speed inside, so I was just looking fastball and teed off on it."
Shenandoah (16-4) added another run in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Ricky Pardo to take a 4-1 lead, but Dickinson responded with a run in the third and three runs in the fourth off Hornets reliever Joshua Stamp to take a 5-4 lead.
But Paul was right there to vault the Hornets back ahead in the bottom of the fourth. Billy Arens (2-for-4, three runs), Ricky Pardo (2-for-5, two runs) and Nolan Overby (2-for-3, three runs) each reached based with singles to open the bottom of the fourth, and Paul doubled off Red Devils reliever Mo Felt on a grounder down the first-base line to clear the bases and give Shenandoah a 7-5 lead.
The Hornets added another run on a Dickinson error, and a balk by Felt scored Dan Powers. Corbin Lucas added a pinch-hit RBI single for SU to cap the six-run fourth and give the Hornets a 10-5 lead.
Shenandoah added three more runs in the fifth before Paul's RBI bloop single to left in the sixth capped the afternoon's scoring.
Scimanico labored through 2 2/3 innings, as he allowed two earned runs on two hits and six walks while striking out four on 82 pitches.
Junior right-hander Matthew Wilson came on with two outs in the fourth inning and tossed three shutout innings to get the win.
"That was huge. We needed that because we had already used three arms," Hornets coach Kevin Anderson said of Wilson's relief effort. "That was our sixth game in five days ... and we didn't have a whole lot of bullets left. For Matt to give us three [innings], that was huge."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD