Urbana University (10-19, 5-9) opened up a four-game series at division-leading Shepherd (17-9, 10-4) with a doubleheader split at Fairfax Field. The Blue Knights took the second game 6-3 after falling 4-0 in the first contest.
A pitchers’ duel took place in Game 1, as UU starter Austin Mace and SU starter John Bentley went toe-to-toe by giving up only four hits apiece. However, the Rams made their hits count by putting up a four spot in the fourth inning.
Mace, who is the reigning MEC Pitcher of the Week, tossed his fifth consecutive complete game, struck out six and walked four in the tough loss.
UU’s best chance to score came in the second after a pair of one-out singles, but both runners were stranded in scoring position. UU left all four of its runners on base against Bentley, who did not walk a batter.
Outfielder Tim Feasel went 2-for-3 to lead UU at the plate. Designated hitter Enmanuel Lopez and third baseman Mickey Barea posted one hit apiece.
The series opener also saw a pair of streaks come to an end. UU’s A.J. Finlay and DJ Collins both failed to get on base after reaching safely in the previous 28 games dating back to 2015.
In Game 2, it was UU that took control of the game with four runs in the fourth.
The Blue Knights produced four doubles, including back-to-back two-baggers in the fourth from Bradley Burkholder and Barea to tie the game at 3-3. Damario Brown produced an RBI in the following at-bat to give UU a 4-3 lead.
UU tacked on two insurance runs across the final two innings and held on for the 6-3 win. Burkholder crossed on a wild pitch in the eighth and Lopez delivered the final run in the ninth on his team-leading 12th double, a shot to the gap in right-center field.
Right hander Dalton Greenwalt earned his first win after going five innings and giving up three earned runs. The junior showed improved command of the strike zone by walking just one batter and worked his way out of jams by stranding eight SU runners.
Reliever Adam Ramirez was solid in relief and picked up his first save as a Blue Knight. The righty tossed 3.2 shutout innings while striking out a pair and giving up just two hits.
Barea (2 RBI) and Brown (RBI) both registered two hits. Collins, Finlay, Lopez and Burkholder each had one hit.
The Blue Knights left nine on base in the nightcap and were outhit 12-8.