Shenandoah suffers third straight defeat

WINCHESTER – Shenandoah University’s baseball team continued its recent slide in Tuesday night’s home non-conference matchup against the University of Mary Washington.

In a game between two top 25 programs, No. 17/25 Mary Washington erupted for 13 hits against Hornets pitching, while SU’s defense committed four errors en route to a 9-5 loss at Bridgeforth Field.

No. 8/12 Shenandoah (10-4), which dropped a pair of games against Roanoke last Saturday in its Old Dominion Athletic Conference opener, has lost three straight games for the first time since April 2008.

“Baseball is a very humbling game. You can go from the penthouse to the outhouse really quick,” Hornets head coach Kevin Anderson said. “We have not played good baseball for four or five games, not really sure why. But we have a lot of confidence in our players. I’ve gotta do a better job of preparing them, and we’ve gotta play better in all three facets.”

Shenandoah struggled on the mound for the third game in a row, as its pitchers have allowed 29 runs in that span, one more than the Hornets allowed in their first 11 games combined. Starting pitcher Zach Teeple, a left-handed freshman from Fredericksburg, lasted only four-plus innings against the Eagles Tuesday evening while allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk.

Anderson said Teeple (2-1), who entered the game with a 1.17 ERA, struggled to keep his pitches down.

“We pitch to the ‘L’, which is up and in, low and away, and when you invert that L – high and away and low and in – that’s to the hitter’s strength,” Anderson said. “The mistakes that he was making was the inverted L. Zach is a competitor, he’ll come back. We’ll look at the charts and the video and make the necessary adjustments.”

Mary Washington (14-5), which snapped a four-game losing streak with the win, jumped on Teeple and the Hornets quickly with two runs in the top of the first inning. Senior left fielder Mitch Moynihan (3-for-4, two runs scored) put the Eagles on the board with an RBI triple to right-center with one out. He scored two pitches later on an RBI groundout by James Keller (1-for-4, three RBIs).

The Eagles took a 3-0 lead in the second on Cody Beacorn’s RBI single up the middle that scored David Slupek, who led off the inning with a double down the left-field line.

“We’ve really been struggling,” Mary Washington coach Wayne Riser said, “obviously dropping four in a row and quite frankly we haven’t been playing well, so I guess to get out of the gate and get some positive things going allowed us to breathe a little bit. I think that was the most important thing.”

Shenandoah’s defense aided Mary Washington with three straight errors in the top of the fifth that led to a pair of unearned runs charged to Teeple, including a sacrifice fly by Keller that gave the Eagles a 5-0 lead.

The Hornets cut into that deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Junior catcher Dan Cameron led off the inning with a walk that ended the day for Eagles starter Joe Thompson, moved to third on an error and scored on a looping RBI single over first base by Nate Loman, who had two of Shenandoah’s eight hits. A second SU run scored on a double play.

Mary Washington came right back with three more runs in the sixth to take an 8-2 lead. Tyler Truslow started the rally with a one-out single that was followed by a double by Beacorn and a two-run triple off the bat of No. 9 hitter Kyle Bynum (2-for-5, two RBIs, two runs).

SU’s fourth error, on a bunt in front of home plate, allowed Bynum to score with two outs.

“I think one inning we gave them six outs, another inning we gave them five outs,” Anderson said. “Against a quality club like Mary Washington that comes back to nip ya.”

Eagles reliever Tyler Daig shut down SU during his three innings of work before the Hornets broke through for three runs off UMW freshman Jonathan Truba in the bottom of the eighth. Senior shortstop John Wilt plated two of those runs with his first home run of the season, while Abel Arocho doubled to left field and later scored following a pair of wild pitches to cut the Eagles’ lead to 9-5.

Daig (2-1) earned the win for Mary Washington after allowing just one hit against two strikeouts in his three innings of work. Thompson allowed one earned run on three hits, two walks and a strikeout in four-plus innings.

“I thought Tyler Daig coming out of the bullpen threw well, and he hasn’t thrown well all year if you look at his numbers,” Riser said. “Hopefully that springboards Tyler a little bit and he can get going for us because we need him to help us.”

Junior right-hander Steve Jones – one of five SU pitchers to get work on Tuesday – tossed 2.1 innings and allowed one earned run on two hits, two walks and had two of Shenandoah’s three strikeouts. Freshman lefty Ryan Klinchock pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Hornets.

SU returns to action this afternoon at home against ODAC foe Washington and Lee in a 3:30 p.m. contest.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com