It’s always a good day at the office when a team can average 13 runs over the course of two games.
It’s just as welcoming of a sign — if not moreso — when a unit can club five home runs over the course of two games.
The baseball team at Shawnee State did just that in a doubleheader sweep Wednesday evening over Bluefield, claiming as much as a four-run lead before holding on late for a 6-5 victory and adding in two eight-run frames in the second game while taking home a 20-5 win in the nightcapper of a doubleheader at Branch Rickey Park in Portsmouth.
Between the two affairs, Shawnee State scored 26 runs on 21 hits in the contest. In addition to their five home runs, the Bears posted six additional extra base hits as more than half of their total base knocks for the day ended up being a double, a triple, or a big fly.
Rodriguez gets Bears started off with bang
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Howie Rodriguez got Shawnee State’s offense going.
With a hitter’s count in the middle of his at-bat, Rodriguez sent a 2-1 pitch above the left field fence to tie the score at one apiece and allow the Bears to gather needed momentum. The Florida native went 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored in the contest.
Duran, Kline post strong plate showings
With the score still tied at a 1-1 margin heading into the bottom of the third frame, the top of the order came through in its second appearance at the dish.
George Duran, who flied out to left field his first time up at the dish, posted a leadoff single to help get Shawnee State’s half of the third inning off to a roaring start. The outfielder’s strong plate approach, followed by a stolen base from Duran, then allowed Kline to bring Duran in with a RBI triple to center field that brought Duran home. Kline then scored on Levi Jones’ RBI groundout to move the needle up to a 3-1 edge for Shawnee State. Both players went 1-for-4 with a run scored in Game 1.
Sniadach shows off power
In a standout showing, freshman infielder Noah Sniadach spent the latter half of Game 1 showing off his guns as the native of Hebron smoked a ball to center field on a 1-1 count to help Shawnee State take a 4-2 lead in the bottom half of the fourth inning of work.
Back up again as the fifth batter up in the order for the Bears in the bottom half of the fifth inning, Sniadach smoked another ball into the gap, scoring both Damion Coleman and Brennan Gangwish to put Shawnee State ahead by a 6-2 tally — which was enough to hold off a late Bluefield charge en route to the one-run win in Wednesday’s opener. Sniadach went a perfect 3-for-3 with a home run, a double, two RBI and a run scored in the opener.
Sniadach continues tear; Duran and Gammon go yard
Keeping on his pace from his Game 1 onslaught, Noah Sniadach wasted no time getting going in Game 2 by taking Bluefield’s Steven Estep deep to right field on a 2-2 count to put the Bears up by a 2-1 count after two innings of play.
Following a pair of hits that allowed Bluefield to retake a one-run advantage, 3-2, following the top half of the third frame, George Duran came up big again.
The sophomore, who led off the bottom of the third inning with a leadoff walk before coming around on a Charles Douglas RBI double, came back up to the plate in the same frame and made the Rams pay dearly for allowing the lineup to cycle back around, crushing a ball to left center field on a 0-1 count that unloaded the bases as part of an eight-run third-inning that gave the Bears control for good, with SSU holding a 10-3 lead after three innings of work.
Duran ultimately finished 2-for-3 with a double, the gamebreaking grand slam, a walk, four RBI and three runs scored in a tremendous performance.
Gammon, meanwhile, contributed to another eight-run frame for Shawnee State in the bottom of the fifth. Much like how Duran started the third frame, the nine-hole hitter walked to begin the monstrous frame, scored on Danny McGuire’s RBI base knock, then came back up and, with the green light on a 3-0 count, hammered a ball thrown right down the pipe to left for a three-run homer that brought in Brennan Gangwish and Hunter Krannitz.
Up 18-3 after five innings of play at this point, Shawnee State cruised to the win from there as the Bears rolled by the aforementioned 20-5 tally. Gammon finished 1-for-2 with his three-run homer, a walk, and three runs scored critical in the final numbers.
Along with the previously mentioned players, Kyle Boggs’ 2-for-2 effort with two walks, a stolen base, two RBI, and three runs scored was also critical, with the designated hitter coming up big throughout the second contest.
Anthony Wolford and Seth Pluta also did what they needed to do in their appearances on the mound, as well. Wolford, who got the start in the opener, fired six innings of eight-hit baseball while striking out three and allowing three earned runs in the win. Pluta, who threw five innings in the second contest, allowed just three hits, two earned runs and struck out three in his own triumph.
Shawnee State (8-7) will take on Lindsey Wilson in a Mid-South Conference doubleheader Thursday afternoon in Columbia, Ky., beginning at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT followed by a single game Friday at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT.
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