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Long worth the wait: Gallaudet stuns Mary Washington for the first time in 56 tries

Long worth the wait: Gallaudet stuns Mary Washington for the first time in 56 tries

WASHINGTON – Following 55 unsuccessful tries, the Gallaudet University baseball team finally celebrated a victory against University of Mary Washington as they split their doubleheader on a frigid Sunday afternoon at Hoy Field. GU won the first game 6-0 in seven innings and nearly won the second game but lost 8-7 in nine innings.

The Bison had not beaten their longtime foe since the inception of UMW's baseball program in 1988. The Eagles and Bison used to be in the Capital Athletic Conference together for nearly 20 years before GU left for the North Eastern Athletic Conference in 2011. In the series history, Mary Washington has shut out the Bison 21 times and held them to one run on 16 occasions. It was the Eagles who embarrassed the Bison 46-0 on April 1, 2006.

In the opener, the buff and blue were led to victory by sophomore right-hander Brandon Holsworth (Beal City, Mich.), who pitched a complete game, three-hit shutout over seven innings. He proved exceptionally efficient throughout the contest as he issued a single walk, tallied three strikeouts and retired the side in order on four separate occasions. In total, Holsworth faced 25 batters – only four more than the possible minimum.

The game remained scoreless through three and a half innings, before junior Chris Guinn (McLoud, Okla.) was plated on a single through the left side by junior Marcus Smith (Baltimore, Md.). Though it would be the only run the Bison (3-5) needed, GU added three more insurance runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to put the game well out of reach. The offense was bolstered by a total team effort, including a two-hit, two-RBI, one-run performance by junior Casey Hicks (Henderson, Nev.)  while senior Tommy Barksdale (Brookeville, Md.) recorded three hits and two runs in the win.

The Eagles (7-5) mounted their biggest offensive threat of the game in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second and one out, but Holsworth induced a ground ball double play to end the comeback bid and the game.

Joe Carleton (0-1) took the loss for Mary Washington as he allowed four runs on 10 hits over five innings, while designated hitter Jono Haught powered the Eagle offense with a double in three at-bats.

The second game proved to be a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair. Mary Washington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, before GU rallied back with one run in the first and two in the second to tie the game 3-3. Both teams traded two-run blows over the next two innings as GU took control 7-6 in the fifth on a pair of RBI singles by Hicks and senior Jeremy Adams (Glenn Dale, Md.).

Guinn started the game for Gallaudet and left after six innings still clinging to the one-run lead having allowed four earned runs and nine hits over six innings. Unfortunately, the Bison gave up a run in the top of the seventh on a fielder's choice to knot the game at seven and send the game to extra innings.

GU loaded the bases in the bottom half of the eighth inning with two outs but junior outfielder William Bissell (Brewer, Maine) struck out against Jake Black (2-1), who went on to pick-up the win as he pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Despite a solid three-inning relief performance by junior Tyler Crace (Westfield, Ind.), in which he allowed one earned run, the Eagles were able to take advantage of a Bison error to earn the victory in nine innings.

Adams and junior JJ Klein (Cincinnati, Ohio) contributed four hits apiece for the Bison. Adams also added a run and two RBIs, while Klein tallied one run and one RBI. The Eagles were powered by a three-hit performance from Conner Lilly and two-hit, two-RBI games from Haught and Chad Englin.

Gallaudet will take on McDaniel College (2-2) in a nine-inning game on Thursday, March 7, at 2 p.m. at Hoy Field.