It’s still early in the baseball season, but St. Mark’s is playing in midseason form. The Spartans used a six-run sixth inning and an outstanding outing from senior lefthander Andrew Reich to take a 10-0 victory over St. Elizabeth on Thursday afternoon.
St. Mark’s got started early, scoring four runs in their half of the first on just one hit. The Spartans took advantage of some wildness from Vikings starter Mike Jamison, who walked three in the first. Matt Theodorakis scored the first run on a sacrifice fly to left. Two fielder’s choices – one of which included a throwing error – were responsible for the other three runs.
Jamison settled down, and he and Reich dueled for the next four innings without allowing a run. Jamison went four innings, allowing the four runs, two of which were earned. He gave up just three hits and struck out six in addition to five walks.
Reich was nearly unhittable. St. Elizabeth managed just three hits, just one of which left the infield. That was a line drive up the middle by Casey Rock. He walked one and struck out seven.
“My curveball was pretty good today. I didn’t throw that many, but it worked. My fastball was on. I felt like I was throwing harder than usual,” said Reich, who won his second game of the year.
St. Elizabeth’s best chance came in the second. With one out, Jamison reached on an infield single, leaving for a courtesy runner, Ryan Maffia. Joseph Anderson followed with a ground ball to shortstop, where it was juggled after a bad hop for an error. Reich shut the door, striking out the next two batters. In the third, the Spartans erased a runner from second base on a line drive double play on what may have been the hardest-hit ball of the afternoon for St. Elizabeth.
The floodgates opened in the sixth, as the Spartans ended the game with six more runs. With Justin Brooks on the mound, Chris Ludman led off with a double to right-center field, as the Vikings’ centerfielder lost possession on his diving attempt when he hit the ground. With one out, Tyler Kaczmarczyk was hit by a pitch. Ludman, who had advanced to third on a groundout, scored on a single by Brian Gilardi. Reich doubled to the fence in right-center, knocking in two more runs. Theodorakis then doubled down the left-field line, bringing home courtesy runner Billy Sullivan to make it 8-0.
Brandon Merrill relieved Brooks and got the second out on a grounder. Thomas Gibb, however, got to Merrill, hitting a low liner down the left-field line that curled around the fair pole for a walkoff two-run homer.
Reich said it calms the pitchers when they are able to pitch with runs on the board. That has not been a problem this season for St. Mark’s which has scored 38 runs in its three games.
“We’re really stroking the ball right now, and we just have to keep it going. It’s really helping our pitchers settle in,” he said.
St. Mark’s improved to 3-0 and has yet to go the regulation seven innings. The Spartans host Indian River on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Vikings lost for the first time after two wins. They remain on the road for their next game, which is Saturday at 11 a.m. at Brandywine.