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Shepherd baseball team stays perfect

March 17, 1997

By BOB DeVINNEY

Staff Correspondent

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - When all else fails, turning to your pitching staff can bail you out. Especially when that staff sports a combined 0.97 ERA.

That's exactly what Shepherd College baseball coach Wayne Riser did Sunday in a 9-5 win over Oswego (N.Y.) State University.

The victory extends the Rams' season-opening win streak to six, the fastest start in school history. It was also significant in Riser's eyes, because the Rams outdueled the No. 20-ranked team in Division III in its season opener.

"The pitching's doing the job," said Riser. "We're making the other team come out and beat us. We're not giving anything away. I'm ecstatic with what we've accomplished so far through six games. Today, I'm the most happy undefeated guy in the country."

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The Rams stranded 17 baserunners and left the bases loaded in four separate innings. But a four-run seventh allowed them to finally overtake the explosive Lakers.

Mark Bragunier highlighted the rally which gave Shepherd an 8-4 lead it never relinquished. Bragunier drove in two runs with a single to left that managed to squirt through the hole at shortstop.

Bragunier finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while designated hitter Jamie Ware plated three baserunners with an RBI single in the third and a pair of bases-loaded walks.

Left-hander Travis Bagent (1-0) began the fifth inning in relief of starter Andrew Fincham and picked up the win, yielding two runs on six hits and striking out four in three innings. Fincham allowed six hits and struck out four.

"They were hitting fastballs pretty good," said Bagent. "So I relied on my changeup as my out pitch. I was able to throw it for strikes on either 2-1 or 2-2. I kept it down and either got a ground ball or a strikeout when I really needed it."

Despite a gold mine of free passes, including 16 walks and two hit batsmen, Shepherd managed just two hits against Oswego's ace right-hander Shane Wisner. Wisner beat the Rams last season.

Shepherd totaled only six hits.

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