PORTSMOUTH – The Shawnee State baseball team earned a split of its doubleheader with St. Catharine College at Branch Rickey Park on senior day. The Bears (29-25, 9-15) got a strong pitching performance from Calvin Sluberski and got key contributions from their seniors in a hard-fought game one victory, 2-1. The Patriots (36-18, 10-11) took the third and final game of the series, 4-2, over Shawnee State.
In the opening game, Keim, who went 1-for-4 in the game, got his only hit when the Bears needed it the most. After Sluberski pitched five scoreless innings, Shawnee State got the first run of the game in the bottom half of the fifth.
With two-outs, Todd Queener walked and Tyler Bice followed with a walk setting up Keim. With two-outs, the senior stepped up to the plate and drove a fastball to right field for a single, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead.
Sluberski (3-4), who earned his third victory of the season, tossed 6.2 innings allowing one run on seven hits. Sluberski kept the Patriots bats quiet until the top of the seventh when St. Catharine capitalized on a double down the left field line to tie the game at 1-all.
However, the Bears clawed right back in the bottom of the eighth inning. After Joe Henderson reached on a walk, senior Aaron Suydam pinch ran and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Daniel Katayama. A few batters later Dustin Bickmeyer singled to right field to score Suydam for the games winning run.
Jordan Williams (7) came onto relief in the seventh inning for his seventh save of the season. Not allowing a run in 2.1 innings of work on two hits.
In the second game, the Bears played from behind from opening pitch. St. Catharine jumped on Shawnee State early with four runs in the first four innings off of starting pitcher Zak Esposito.
Trailing 4-0, the Bears fought back in the bottom of the fourth inning. Shawnee State got the inning started as Henderson singled up the middle. Sluberski then followed with a hard hit ball deep to right-center field, good for a triple and cutting the deficit to 4-1.
However, the Bears weren't finished. The senior, Maier, followed with an RBI ground out to second base to score Sluberski to pull Shawnee State within 4-2.
Williams made his second appearance of the day throwing two innings allowing no runs on zero hits. It was his 25th and 26th appearances of the season on the day marking the most of any relief pitcher on the Bears roster.
The split marked the end of the regular season for Shawnee State with a final record of 29-25 and going 9-15 in the Mid-South Conference. The fate of a postseason birth will rest in the hands of the UVA-Wise vs. Rio Grande series being played over the weekend.