Pease quickly in flow with Mount

Freshman's mound work contributes to 11-5 record

State notebook

Colleges

March 25, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

There is a certain baseball electricity in the air around Mount St. Mary's on these brisk, blustery early-spring days.

And no one could be happier about it than slightly built freshman left-hander Dustin Pease (5 feet 10, 145 pounds), who surprised even himself Tuesday afternoon with a 7-2 victory over George Mason.

"Those guys were so big they made me nervous at first," said Pease, who was recruited by the Patriots when he was pitching for Archbishop Spalding.

"But once I realized they were just normal guys, I felt comfortable out there and kept getting them out with my fastball, slider and sidearm pitch. I think I surprised them by dropping down for the sidearm pitch."

Pease said it felt especially good to beat George Mason "because they recruited me and then walked away."

The first nine-inning effort of the season for Pease raised his record to 3-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.20 in 28 2/3 innings as the team improved to 11-5. The 11 wins are the most this early in the season in school history.

Pease is a spot starter now after being a closer at the start of the season, posting a team-leading 34 strikeouts.

"The school president [Thomas H. Powell] is really getting behind our team, and a lot more students are coming out to the games," Pease said.

"I think it's great because at Spalding softball and basketball were the big sports, not baseball."

Sophomore right-hander Justin Davis is the other top pitcher on the team, with a 3-1 record and 1.71 ERA in 31 2/3 innings while striking out 32.

Pease and Davis have been surprises.

The hitters were supposed to produce, with seniors such as catcher Jason Weszka, third baseman Burt Stormes and outfielder John Di Girolamo proven commodities along with junior catcher Adam Schlenoff.

Stormes hit a grand slam against George Mason, and is hitting .333 with 14 RBIs.

Weszka is second on the team in hitting (.429), Di Girolamo is batting .377 and Schlenoff is struggling at .227.

Sophomore first baseman Eric Smith leads the team in hitting at .473, and sophomore third baseman Joe Kotula is third at .414.

He can pitch, too

It was almost as if CCBC-Dundalk freshman Justin Ruhlman was saying Monday, "This is how it's done, fellas," when he walked onto the pitching mound for the first time this season and threw a seven-inning no-hitter.

Ruhlman, a left-handed first baseman, was already the leading hitter (.478) on the team and the top RBI man (21) before showing his teammates he also knows how to get batters out.

Ruhlman shut down Naval Academy Prep, 7-0, on six strikeouts and no walks to begin a big two-game run.

He came back the next day in a 17-1 romp over Harford Community College with a 4-for-5 afternoon and four RBIs. The wins lifted Dundalk to 10-8.

Sprinter Charles in form

Coppin State sophomore Janicia Charles captured the outdoor 200- and 400-meter sprints in the Ram Invitational last weekend at Virginia Commonwealth.

Charles turned in a personal-best 24.47 seconds in the 200 to finish ahead of Bowie State's Jennifer Coeter (24.73), and she was clocked in 57.13 to take first in the 400 meters.

Five Mids in NCAAs

Navy will have five swimmers and divers competing in the NCAA men's championships this weekend after freshman diver Kevin Teague qualified by winning the platform competition in the Zone A meet.

Teague joins seniors Noah White (50, 100 and 200 free) and Terrence Fenningham (50 free) and sophomores Joe Smutz (50 and 100 free) and Mike Linn (relays).

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