FARRANDSVILLE -- Two weeks ago in a mid-week game with Bloomsburg, the Lock Haven University baseball team could do no wrong when the Bald Eagles rapped out 15 hits and scored 17 runs as the Bald Eagles out-slugged the Huskies for a 17-11 win.
However, it was different Tuesday at Foundation Field. The Bald Eagles could do little right as they were blanked 5-0 by the Mansfield Mountaineers in a non-conference outing.
During the past weekend, the Bald Eagles put themselves in good shape for a spot in the PSAC playoffs by sweeping California (Pa.)?in one-run games. As for his team's lackluster play against the Mountaineers, head coach Smokey Stover felt that maybe his squad had a little bit of an emotional hangover.
"It was very, very, very emotional for us last weekend," said Stover. "Those were two very big wins for us and everybody knows our pitching situation with all of the young kids throwing. I gave them off yesterday because we are banged up a little bit and that kind of added to us being flat today. Today is as flat as I saw these guys all year."
While Stover's Bald Eagles were flat, Mansfield wasn't spectacular but simply played solid baseball.
"We had a good day today," said Mansfield head coach Harry Hillson. "We had a good day on the mound, a good day in the field and we also swung the bats a little bit. When you do that good things happen for you."
Leading the Mansfield offensive attack was sophomore infielder Anthony Renz with three hits in five tries and a run scored.
"Renz is really coming on for us," said Hillson. "He is playing good third base and he is hitting. He is only a sophomore so he is still a young player, but he is starting to establish himself and getting more comfortable with playing the game."
As for the mid-week, single games with non-conference opponents, Hillson said that he likes to play them.
"This (Lock Haven) is a nice team for us to play because it is close," he said. "We can drive down here, play nine innings, get home in decent time and get back to work on some things that are going to help us the next week when we get back to conference play. There is no doubt about it that these mid-week games help you for the weekend."
LHU's two biggest threats to score came in the first and third innings when the Bald Eagles had runners reach third base. In the first, Ryan Henritzy singled to left with one out, but wound up being stranded at third. In the third inning, Jay Hartman reached on a Mansfield error with one out, but a groundout and a pop out left him standing at third.
After that, Mansfield starting pitcher Quinton Taylor, who went the distance to pick up the win, never faced more than three LHU batters in any one inning.
Starting with a double play to end the fourth, Taylor retired the final 16 men he faced as he only allowed LHU two hits, singles by Ryan Henritzy and Dakota Roof.
"We got all of the position players into the game and we tried to throw just about everybody through at least one inning except some of the conference starters," said Stover. "The biggest positive I saw out of the day was the performance of Nick Cummings who came back and threw like he is capable of throwing. If we have him for the rest of the season like he threw today we are going to win some ball games."
As for bouncing back when they return to conference play, Stover hopes his squad can learn from the poor performance.
"I hope they learn that they can't just show up, play and expect to win the game," he said. "Even though a team like Mansfield isn't in our conference, they have to learn they are still playing against a PSAC team that plays in one of the top two Division II conferences in the country. Knowing that, you had better come ready to play every day."
As for making the playoffs, Stover was quick to point out that his team can control its own destiny.
"I looked at the standings and we have a lot of criteria over the other teams if a tie should occur," he said. "That being said, we still have eight more conference games remaining and every one of them is a big game."
Mansfield 010 301 000-5 13 1
Lock Haven 000 000 000-0 2 2
Mansfield (16-19): Quin Taylor (W, 3-3) and Conor Thompson 3b Dylan Woodworth RBI Thompson 2, Seth Tressler, Stanton Tentknowski, Jon Taddeo
Lock Haven (13-17): Garrett Shnyder (L, 2-3), Aaron Lidgett (6), Alec Jacob (8), Nick Cummings (8) and Austin Botts