The Bloomsburg Huskies simply weren’t prepared for the destruction they endured this past weekend at the claws of the wild Golden Bear’s baseball team. Two games were played at KU on Friday, Apr. 5, and another double-header was at Bloomsburg the next day. In four games, KU took hold of the PSAC East division by sweeping the Huskies both days.
The first-placed Golden Bears flaunted a 22-5 record and an 11-1 record in the PSAC after the spectacular weekend. The only PSAC team to defeat them was Shippensburg University, whom KU beat twice the previous day.
To begin the weekend with some excitement, the first game was a high scoring affair. KU eventually won 11-10, but not until KU switched their pitcher four times. KU was caught off guard in the first three innings, during which they committed all three errors of the game. This gave way to a hefty 8-2 lead in favor of the Huskies.
However, KU had themselves a great third inning too. A walk and a throwing error put two runners on base, senior Matt Albaugh walked up to the plate. A double to left field brought one in to spark a five-run inning to put KU behind 8-7. Hitting didn’t cease after the third. KU would score one run every inning until the seventh inning came with things tied up 10-10.
With two men on base and one out, senior relief pitcher Bill Felo stumbled onto the mound. The first man grounded out, but advanced both runners to second and third base. With runners in the position to win the game, Felo had to strike out just one batter to give his team a chance. After a shaky start of two balls, Felo commanded the plate with a 3-2 strikeout to push the game to the next inning at the very least.
But another inning wouldn’t be necessary. Sophomore Thomas Romano stepped to the plate with a fierce lead off double to center. With two outs in a row and runner advancement, sophomore Ricky Gorrell came to the plate in need of a big game winning hit into the outfield. After an eight-pitch at bat, Gorrell struck one to center to score Romano for the 11-10 win.
Felo picked up the win in the seventh inning and said, “My arm felt great, but I was nervous. But I guess that’s why we play baseball, for those exciting moments.”
That would be the most exciting game of the weekend for the Golden Bears. KU won the second game with another 11-run game. The final score was 11-4. At home on Friday, KU recorded 24 hits and 21 RBIs. With a team batting average of .436 on Friday, KU sincerely dismantled the Huskies.
On Saturday, the Golden Bears travelled to Bloomsburg to win 3-1 and 2-0. Pitching was the key in this battle. In the 2-0 game, junior Brandon Shimo threw 5.2 shutout innings. In the other away game, senior Jordan Garcia picked up a win by making just two outs, one by way of strikeout. Felo came in for three innings and received the save nod by allowing just one hit.
There are just 17 games left in the season and the toughest PSAC challenge is coming around the corner. Millersville is the next opponent on KU’s schedule. It will be another four-game series of two home and two away. Competition begins Friday, Apr. 12 and concludes the next day. Millersville is second in the PSACE East with a 7-1 PSAC record and a 24-9 overall record. Millersville’s only PSAC loss also came at the bats of Shippensburg University.
This season, two batters in particular have brought success to the plate: Albaugh and senior Brett Hauck. Hauck leads in runs scored (23), hits (37) and doubles (7). Albaugh leads the team with a .418 batting average, and Hauck trails with a .408.
KU’s best pitchers this season are junior Jason Henderson and Shimo. Shimo has pitched 20.1 innings and boasts the third best ERA at 2.66. However, Henderson has been the most successful and most worked arm in the bullpen. With 28 innings pitched, Henderson leads the rotation with four wins. The closers also seem to be having a good season too. Freshman Matt Swarmer and Felo have two saves each. In addition, Swarmer posts an ERA of 1.59 and Felo clocks in at 2.77 for two of the top five ERAs on the team.
Millersville is a tough team, but the Golden Bears made things interesting after their four-game series sweep. After the weekend, KU moved to the 12 spot in the national rankings and Millersville dropped just beneath them at 13. This weekend series of double-headers could decide the playoff early mighty early.
“We really pulled together as a team to come back to get wins on Friday,” Felo said. “We executed every important aspect to get the four game sweep of Bloomsburg. The same needs to happen against Millersville.”
By Frank Lippincott