After a nearly two week stretch facing off against top ranked teams at both the VISAA Division I and Division II level, Miller flexed a little at the plate to show why it’s also one of those teams. The Mavericks rolled 20-5 on the road against hosting St. Anne’s-Belfield in six innings thank in large part to six home runs on the night.
“Those were some good at bats and the ball was flying, it’s warmer,” said Miller coach Billy Wagner. “There were a lot of good things that happened today. We got a lot of guys in, got some playing experience.”
Between a pair of meetings with Benedictine and road trips to Greenbrier Christian and Atlantic Shores, the Mavericks are gearing up for the VIC tournament starting next week after a quick homestand with Steward and Carlisle. Seeing the quality pitching they’ve seen in April has sharpened up a lineup that already had a lot of bite to it.
“We ran into a really good stretch of pitchers,” Hackenberg said. “That’s always good when it comes to preparing people, getting ready in the box and more comfortable.”
The Mavericks went up 3-0 in the top of the first thanks to an RBI double from Ethan Murray followed up by a solo shot from Adam Hackenberg. It would be the first of three jacks for the Clemson-bound senior and the first of seven RBI on the night.
STAB answered quickly in the bottom of the first with leadoff singles from Nic Kent and Alex Markopoulos and then a 2-run double from Will Hass.
Miller picked up its second homer of the night in the top of the second after an error and then a shot from Jack Carey to make it 5-2. The Mavericks then had the first of their two 7-run rallies starting in the third. That spree was paced by solo-shot from Carson Atkins, a 2-run double from Murray and a 2-run homer from Hackenberg to make it 12-2.
“We got some good (batting practice) before the game and coach was putting a little more on it,” Hackenberg said. “We got to see some good velocity and that just made our swings a little shorter, a little more connected.”
STAB was able to plate a run in the bottom of the third after a leadoff triple from Kent and an RBI groundout from Jack Pausic to make it 12-3.
“I was totally happy with the way we battled but obviously they were just able to score a ton of runs with balls up in the zone,” said STAB coach Brian Yeagle.
Murray put Miller up 13-3 in the fourth with an RBI single but that was negated in the bottom half with Will Timberlake getting a leadoff single and scoring from third on an error. The Mavericks were unable to plate a run in the top of the fifth to reclaim a potential game ending 10-run lead. But in the six, it was another 7-run rally that was more than enough.
“I think once we see one person do it everyone’s confidence goes up and then another, it just builds from there and I think that’s why it ended up exploding into a 2-to-3 home run game into (this),” Hackenberg said.
In that sixth, Miller got an RBI single from Jack Marshall, and a pair of 3-run homers from Hackenberg and Ethan Chenault. The Saints got an RBI single from Kent in the bottom of the sixth, but that wrapped up the scoring and subsequently the game at 20-5.
For the Mavericks, Hackenberg finished 3-for-4 with three home runs and seven RBI. Murray went 4-for-5 with four RBI. Atkins finished 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Lucas Knight was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
STAB was led by kent who finished 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Markopoulos, Hass and Timberlake were each 1-for-3.
The Saints are back in action with senior night against Fork Union on Tuesday followed by a road trip on Friday to face the Blue Devils again. The Saints sit outside of the top eight in the Division with four games to play.
“It’s the end of season grind with the playoffs looming,” Yeagle. “We need to win out from here with these two against Fork Union and then two more with Trinity Episcopal.”
Miller remains in the top spot at Division II with Highland just behind at two. A win over third-seeded Steward on Tuesday would only help further the gap.