Baseball sweeps doubleheader at Averett to open 2019 season

Zach Loewenberg

DANVILLE, Va. – The Washington and Lee baseball team opened the 2019 season with a pair of wins, 11-2 and 7-3, at Averett on Saturday.

W&L is now 2-0 to start a season for the fourth time in the last five years, while Averett sits at 0-2 to begin its season.

The Generals wasted no time in getting on the board to begin the season as senior shortstop Chadwick Feeley (Jacksonville, Fla./Episcopal School) reached on an error, before advancing to second three batters later on a single to left from senior first baseman Zach Loewenberg (Baltimore, Md./Friends School of Baltimore). Junior catcher Bryce Burnette (Hurt, Va./Gretna) then doubled home both Feeley and Loewenberg to give the Generals a 2-0 lead.

The Cougars got one run back in the bottom of the first on a one-out solo home run from junior catcher Chase McKinney. In the bottom of the second, after sophomore center fielder Matt Whitely (Salem, Va./Hidden Valley) and senior second baseman Ben Decembrino (Yardley, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) were both hit by a pitch, Feeley drove Whitely home on a single up the middle.

Senior left fielder Matthew Jones (Henrico, Va./Mills E. Godwin) then hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Decembrino, who moved up to third on the single from Feeley. After Feeley stole second during the next at-bat, sophomore third baseman Jason Volpicelli (Great Falls, Va./Paul VI Catholic) singled to right, scoring Feeley. Volpicelli moved up a base on an Averett balk, and then came around to score the sixth W&L run on a single through the right side by Loewenberg.

Averett, again, came back with one run in the following half inning, before a five-run W&L fifth inning broke the game open and concluded the scoring in game one. The top of the fifth was highlighted by a two-RBI single from sophomore catcher Jack Giardino (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day School), who later scored on a balk. Junior right fielder Ryan Monson (Frisco, Texas/Wakeland) contributed an RBI single in the frame and Whitely, who doubled with no outs, scored on a wild pitch.

In game two, the Cougars broke through first in the opening inning when senior second baseman Kyle Vidano tripled to left and came in to score on a sac fly from McKinney. The Generals got the run back in the next half inning when Burnette walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, before scoring on a single to center from Whitely with two outs.

Feeley led off the third with a single to left and advanced to third after a pair of wild pitches. Volpicelli then singled down the right-field line to score Feeley and moved up to second on a Loewenberg single to left center. After a walk to Burnette loaded the bases with one out, Monson hit a sac fly to center to drive in Volpicelli, extending the W&L lead to 3-1.

The Cougars responded with another sac fly in the bottom of the third, courtesy of junior right fielder Andrew Lancaster, to cut the W&L lead to 3-2, before tying the game in the bottom of the fourth on a wild pitch, allowing senior left fielder A.J. Hart to score.

Volpicelli started the top of the fifth with a single up the middle and came all the way around to score the go-ahead run on a double to right from Loewenberg. In the sixth, Whitely led off with a walk, advanced to second on a sac bunt from Decembrino and then scored when Feeley singled up the middle.

The final two W&L runs came across home plate in the top of the seventh inning on RBI singles from first-year catcher Luke Czepiel (Devon, Pa./Conestoga) and Whitely.

Loewenberg led the way for the W&L offense for the day, compiling five hits in seven at-bats, with a double, two RBI and three runs scored. Feeley finished with four base knocks, two in both games, scored three times and drove in a pair, while Volpicelli also tallied four hits on the day, including three in game two.

In all, nine different Generals had at least one hit between the two games, with six of those players tallying two or more.

With nine at-bats on the day, Feeley moved into a tie for fourth place on the program's career at-bats leaderboard (487).

Junior left-hander Carson McKoon (Chattanooga, Tenn./McCallie School) earned the win in game one, after tossing 3.2 innings and allowing two earned runs on just one hit with two walks and three strikeouts. Senior right-hander Andrew Earvolino (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) was first out of the W&L bullpen and held the Averett bats in check, allowing three hits in 2.1 scoreless innings, plus one walk and three strikeouts. Sophomore righty Peyton McCann (Midlothian, Va./James River) shut the door on the Cougars, pitching a scoreless seventh inning with two strikeouts and a walk.

Senior right-hander Jack Boyce (Armonk, N.Y./Iona Prep) started game two and allowed two earned runs on one hit with two walks and a strikeout in 2.2 innings of work. Sophomore lefty Chase Fleming (Pennington, N.J./Princeton Day School) relieved Boyce with 2.0 innings and allowed one run on one hit, while walking five and striking out three to earn his first career win. Sophomore righty Mason Shuffler (Lafayette, La./Episcopal School of Acadiana) and senior right-hander Danny Devereux (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect) pitched the final 2.1 innings and did not allow a run, while combining for three strikeouts and allowing two hits and one walk.

With his appearance in the seventh inning of game two, Devereux broke a tie with Jake Rudolph '14 for the most pitching appearances in program history (58).

The W&L pitching staff held the Cougars to four hits in both games, limiting them to a .160 batting average on the day (8-for-50), while the Generals' offense posted 25 hits between the two games (13 in game one, 12 in game two), for a .397 batting average.

The two teams will complete their three-game series on Sunday, when the Generals host the Cougars at Cap'n Dick Smith Field at 1:00 pm in the 2019 home opener.

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