By Tyler Hofmann-Reardon
On Wednesday, the Roanoke Maroons Baseball team played its season and home opener against non-conference rival Southern Virginia. The game was held at Roanoke’s new home-field at Lewis-Gale Field in Salem Memorial Park.
Last season, the Maroons finished with an overall record just below .500 at 16-18 with a 7-13 ODAC record. Looking to crest the .500 mark this year, the Maroons turned to junior Harrison Richards who took the mound on Wednesday looking to start the Maroons 1-0 for the first time in head coach Matt McGuire’s tenure at Roanoke. Richards played a significant role in the Maroons’ rotation last year, pitching for 26 innings, notching 24 strikeouts and two wins.
The first run of the Maroons’ 2015 season was scored by Will Decker after Lucas Nowlin hit a double to left field to bring Decker home. Nowlin himself scored two batters later showing impressive speed to take home after a wild pitch. After two innings, the Maroons led 2-0.
In the third inning, the Maroons absolutely exploded. Gavin Pelletteri, Clark Crutchfield, Decker, Collier Donald, Nowlin, Dan Brodeur, Sean Cassidy, and David Guia all crossed home to give the Maroons a 10-0 lead very early in the contest. Cal Hodgert and Brodeur picked up RBI’s during the scoring outburst, Hodgert with one and Brodeur with two off of a double to the left-center-field gap.
With a nice cushion, Richards went to work, striking out five and only giving up three runs in his 5.2 innings pitched. When Richards was pulled, the Maroons had a significant 12-4 lead which was soon pushed to 14-4 after Roanoke scored two more runs during the bottom of the seventh. Although Southern Virginia scored two more runs in the closing innings of the game, the Maroons’ eight run breakout in the third inning proved to be too much to overcome and the Knights fell to the Maroons 14-6.
The Maroons were led at the plate by Nowlin, who went 3-4 with three runs scored and an RBI to top off his solid night. Decker and Brodeur led the team in RBI’s with two apiece and Decker, along with Pellitteri and Crutchfield, scored two runs for the Maroons. Richards picked up the win on the mound after an impressive first outing.
The Maroons will next be featured in doubleheader action when they host Frostburg State University on Feb. 14 at 12:00 p.m. Be sure to come out and support the undefeated Maroons!