By Mike Gross
Millersville University’s pitching collapsed Saturday, and took with it the Marauders’ championship baseball season.
Millersville lost 12-7 to East Stroudsburg and then 17-5 to the University of Charleston and was eliminated from the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional played at MU’s Cooper Field.
“This wasn’t the way this was supposed to go,’’ MU coach Jon Shehan said after a long talk with his guys on the field. “There were times this year when we pitched really well, and there were times when the wheels came off and the car blew up with it.’’
Over the course of seven hours in broiling heat and humidity, 10 Millersville pitchers allowed 30 hits, 29 runs, walked 16 batters and committed five errors.
“It seems like the last couple weeks, we relied on our starters to get going,’’ Shehan said. “We got 2.2 (innings) out of our starters today.’’
MU had defeated East Stroudsburg three times in four tries this season, including last week in the championship game of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs.
The Warriors had four three-run innings Saturday, and that included the first and second frames.
Millersville was slugging right along for a while; it got a three-run homer from Jimmy Losh in the second to tie it. Luke Trainer’s solo shot in the fifth pulled his team within 9-6.
East Stroudsburg answered with three in the bottom of the inning on only one hit.
In game two, Charleston (W. Va.) led 8-0 before Millersville had a base hit.
Outfielder Bren Taylor had five hits on the day, including going 4-for-5 in game one. Trainer, a Conestoga Valley High product, had three hits and scored three times in his final day as a college player.
East Stroudsburg (39-17) will play Charleston (39-17) here Sunday. That game’s winner will face the winner of Saturday’s West Chester-Seton Hill game for the Atlantic Region title.
The regional champ advances to the NCAA Division II Championships, June 4-11 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. N.C.
Millersville bows out at 42-14, with the PSAC trophy and a memorable season forged by fighting through a lot of forgettable stuff.
“About six weeks ago,’’ Shehan said, “Coach (David) Baker and I sat in the office and said, ‘It’s time to get recruiting.’ ’’
“Things just aren’t going our way. I think we had 10 injuries of six weeks or more. We lost four (starting pitchers) and only got one of them back, and he’s only able to go out of the bullpen.
“They ran out of steam, but we had a fantastic season.’’