Millersville Gets Off To Fast Start With 6-0 Victory
The NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional simply could not have started much better for the fourth-seeded Millersville Mauraders.
Keyed by a dazzling complete-game two-hit performance on the hill from left-hander Cordell Shannon and a potent offensive attack that ended its opening-round matchup against No. 5 Shippensburg with 14 hits, Millersville cruised to an impressive 6-0 victory at Diethrick Park.
“It was really interesting, because we haven’t swung the bat well all year when it comes to (a long) layoff and we’ve had a couple of them,” Millersville head coach Jon Shehan said after the win. “I was really happy with the way we swung the bats, but you hand the ball to Cordell (Shannon) and for a sophomore, he’s got a ton of big-game experience. He’s a gamer and he showed it.”
Following a scoreless first inning from both sides, the Marauders struck first in the bottom of the second, thanks to an RBI single from Chas McCormick, scoring Jimmy Cain.
Millersville added another run in the bottom part of the third to take a 2-0 advantage, when David Summerfield ripped a run-scoring single to score Ben Snyder, who laced a double down the left-field line earlier in the frame.
The Marauders really broke through in the fourth, plating three more insurance runs, and never looked back from there.
Millersville’s three-run outburst was highlighted by an RBI double from Dan Neff and a towering two-run home run over the left-center field wall from Mitch Stoltzfus, which was the designated hitter’s fourth long ball of the season.
A sacrifice fly from Stoltzfus in the bottom of the eighth accounted for the final Millersville run.
Ben Snyder (three hits), McCormick (two hits), Stoltzfus (two hits) and Eric Callahan (two hits) all contributed multiple hits in the all-around win.
“I felt like we were really aggressive,” Shehan stressed. “We weren’t out of the zone too often tonight, we didn’t swing at too many poor pitches. … We only stayed in our zone tonight which was huge.”
While the Maruaders were busy tacking runs on the scoreboard, Shannon was doing a masterful job of keeping Shippensburg’s lineup at bay. He ended the game with eight strikeouts on 116 pitches.
“He struggled early in the year, which was a surprise because he was 9-1 last year as a freshman,” Shehan said of Shannon. “He’s an outstanding lefty. He really located well to the glove side, he got in on some right-handers and that set up his off-speed stuff away. … He’s a bulldog. He’s just a flat out bulldog. … He loves the big game and everybody saw it tonight.”
For the Raiders, the only hits came courtesy of singles from Grant Hoover and Dalton Hoiles.
Andy Crum got the start on the mound for Shippensburg, worked four innings and surrendered 11 hits. Zack Sims worked three scoreless innings of relief and struck out two and Jacob Menders also threw an inning out of the pen.
Shippensburg will look to bounce back Saturday at 3 p.m. in an elimination game against an opponent that is still to be determined.
“(Shannon) did a great job,” Shippensburg head coach Matt Jones explained. “We saw him a couple weeks ago and he pitched very similar and we just didn’t make adjustments. … We couldn’t catch a break and (Millersville) was playing really well. You just tip your hat and come back out not tomorrow but Saturday. … We ‘ve just got to swing the bats better. You look at our numbers offensively, we’ve had a really good year so I would expect us to have more than two hits.”
The win vaults Millersville into a matchup today with tournament host and top-seeded Mercyhurst. First pitch is slated for approximately 3 p.m.
“It always comes down to Mercyhurst,” Shehan emphasized. “I mean they’ve got an unbelievable club. Joe (Spano) does an unbelievable job. They’re going to have great pitching. We’re going to see good arms tomorrow and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
NOTES: The game underwent an approximate 45-minute weather delay prior to the bottom of the sixth inning.