The following is a press release from the West Chester University Athletic Department.
Joe Wendle went a combined 3-for-7, Reid Pulford hit a three-run homer in game two and West Chester received a pair of complete-game outings from its two pitchers as the hosts swept visiting Mansfield in the PSAC East opener for both schools at Serpico Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Pulford sparked a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning in game one that broke a scoreless tie and pushed three unearned runs across, before hitting a three-run homer in the second inning of game two that helped the Rams open up a 5-0 advantage. West Chester (11-1, 2-0 PSAC East) won game one 4-1 from Mansfield (6-13, 0-2), before taking the second game 17-1.
Pulford stepped to the plate with nobody on and two men out in the fifth and quickly fell behind 0-2 in the count. However, the No. 9 hitter in the order worked his way back in the count, eventually running it full, before fouling off a few pitches and drawing a walk from Mountaineers starter Andy Young (2-3).
Mike Raimo then reached on a fielding error by Mansfield’s shortstop, and Jack Provine and Wendle followed with back-to-back triples to put the Rams on top, 3-0.
“That’s what we have been trying to focus on all year,” Pulford explained afterwards. “Just taking it pitch-by-pitch and battling. Good things will happen.”
First-year head coach Jad Prachniak echoed those thoughts from his starting catcher.
“That’s baseball,” Prachniak commented. “If you take things one pitch at a time and bare down and battle, that is what happens. That was a big at-bat for us in that game.
“I think we are going to find out that conference weekends are going to go much like game one did today. They are going to be tight games where one mistake can wind up costing you.”
Golden Rams starter Joe Gunkel (2-0) was dominating all game long. He allowed one run on five hits, walked one and struck out four. He took a shutout into the top of the seventh, but lost it after giving up a leadoff double to Jon Moser, who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.
In game two, sophomore Fred Breidenbach (3-0) tossed a complete-game, two-hitter. He worked his way through some control problems in the second inning that allowed Mansfield to knot things up at one briefly. However, a bloop single in the fourth and a single up the middle in the seventh were the only hits by the Mountaineers.
West Chester scored four in the second, highlighted by Pulford’s second home run of the season, two more in the third and an eight-spot in the fourth to blow open the game. Pulford finished the game with four RBI. He walked with the bases loaded during the eight-run fourth.
Provine went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the second game. Raimo went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBI and three runs scored. Jordan Wlodarczyk was 2-for-3 with a triple and three runs scored as well. Matt Baer and Justin Lamborn also collected a pair of hits.
West Chester and Mansfield will go at it again in a league doubleheader Sunday afternoon in Mansfield. First pitch is at 1 p.m. The Golden Rams will return home on Tuesday for a non-league double dip with Saint Rose beginning at 1 p.m.