By Emily Adelman
The long ball seemed to be the source of power behind the Spartans win over the Silversmiths in the double-header today. Syracuse has been desperate for a spark on offense, and they got it today as the Spartans combined for ten homeruns over two, seven-inning games.
Seven of those homeruns came in the first game. The Spartans managed 15 hits in their opening game against the SilverSmiths. Syracuse scored in every inning except the second and fourth. Joe Westerman got the start in Game 1 for the Spartans and went the distance.
Westerman had an early lead to work with as Syracuse scored five runs in their opening inning. The frame was highlighted by catcher Edison Mercado’s second grand slam of the season, followed by a solo shot from Spartan first baseman Jay Perry.
Sherril grabbed one run back in the bottom half of the first inning, but the Spartans bats did not stay quiet. Syracuse racked up three more runs in the top of the third inning to go up 8-1. Left fielder Julian Gutierrez hit his first homerun of the season in the frame, along with another long ball by Mercado.
Westerman was cruising on the mound for the Spartans. The right-hander went the distance in the shortened, seven inning game. Through seven, he gave up four runs, two earned on four hits. The Merrimack College product whiffed nine en route to his second win of the season.
Syracuse scored seven more runs over last three innings. Julian Gutierrez, Jay Perry and Cyrus Senior all homered in those innings. Gutierrez, Perry and Mercado recorded their first-ever multi-homerun games in Spartans history.
SPARTAN OF GAME 1: Edison Mercado
The catcher did everything, whether it be from behind the plate or on the base path. The Johnson and Wales product went 4-5 with two homeruns and two singles with two runs scored. He also accounted for 5 RBIs.
It was Stuart Martin on the mound for the Spartans in Game 2 of the doubleheader. This game started out a little different than the first, with Sherrill popping out to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second inning. First baseman Chris Schad hit a two-run homerun to get the Spartans on the board.
“It felt good,” Schad said. “I have been hitting it well, making good contact. It felt good to finally see some results.”
While he got some run support, things did not get better for Martin, as he allowed a three-run homerun to Jake Corro in the bottom of the fourth inning. Martin went three and a third innings, allowing six runs on nine hits, while striking out three.
The Spartans were not allowed to let their starter take the loss. After surrendering one more run to the SilverSmiths in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-2 lead, the Spartans scored nine runs in the top of the sixth to take their first lead of the game. The inning was highlighted by left-fielder Micah Riddick’s three run homerun to tie the game Chris Schad’s second homerun of Game 2 to take the lead.
“The mindset was that we are not out of it,” Head Spartan Coach Williamson said. “That was the tone that I was trying to set for the team. Its easy to say, ‘oh we can just get them tomorrow. This game is over.’ I thought we did a really good job of responding instead of reacting in the sixth inning.”
Dillan Wilkinson and Zach Soder pitched shutdown innings for the Spartans in relief. The combined to pitch three and two thirds innings, only allowing one run one one hit and striking out two.
SPARTAN(S) OF GAME 2: Chris Schad and Micah Riddick
Schad and Riddick had some timely hitting when it counted. Both hit homeruns in the top of the sixth inning to put the Spartans in position to sweep the doubleheader. Schad went 2-3 with two homeruns, scoring three times and knocking in four runs. Riddick had the timeliest hit of them all, stemming from an offensive substitution for outfielder Rob Ballinger. With only one at bat, Riddick slammed a three-run homerun to tie the game at 7.
Syracuse is back at it again tomorrow. Come out and celebrate the 4th of July with the Spartans as they take on the Cortland Crush at Wallace Field! First pitch is scheduled for 5pm.