PORTSMOUTH – The Shawnee State baseball team exploded for 11 runs in the bottom of the second inning, helping the Bears (27-24) defeat the visiting Hilltoppers of Ohio-Chillicothe 20-2, at Branch Rickey Park on Tuesday afternoon.
With the win, Shawnee State outscored Ohio-Chillicothe 60-9 over three games this season, resulting in a three-game season sweep over the Hilltoppers. The Bears also extended their non-conference win streak to 12 games and improving to 19-11 on their home grass.
The Shawnee State offense exploded right from opening pitch, scoring 13 runs in the first two innings. After starter Bryan Sharkey, who made his first start of the season, threw two consecutive scoreless innings the Bears erupted for their largest scoring inning of the entire season.
After scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, Shawnee State accounted for 11 runs on seven hits in the following inning. The inning was highlighted by a base-clearing single from Calvin Sluberski (3-for-4, six RBI's) and an RBI triple from Aaron Suydam (1-for-4).
The Bears also had extra base hits from Ryan Queener (2-for-3) and Colin Keim (1-for-3). Shawnee State sent a season-high 15 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second inning resulting in a 13-0 lead.
Holding a double-digit lead, Ryan Hackworth came into the game in-relief of Sharkey. Sharkey tossed two scoreless innings allowing one run on two hits. Hackworth, who pitched a complete game against Ohio-Chillicothe earlier on in the season, threw four complete innings, allowing one run on four hits.
After the Bears failed to score in the third inning the team sent 12 more batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth. Shawnee State scored seven more runs on five hits in the inning to give them a 20-2 advantage. The inning was highlighted by a two-run RBI double to left field from Sluberski. Jordan Maier (2-for-5), Charles Matsunami (three RBI's), Brady Hightchew, Mitchell Lendensk, and Brad Cornwell (1-for-4) all had RBI's in the inning.
Shawnee State will look to continue their non-conference win streak tomorrow as they will travel to New Albany, Indiana to take on Indiana University Southeast before returning home on Friday, April 19 to take on St. Catharine for their season finale series.