Berea, KY- The baseball team returned to the diamond in the Berea College Sports Complex today for the first time since picking up their first two wins of the season against Johnson University this past week. The team looked to continue their winning streak to four as they welcomed the Goshen College Maple Leafs to Berea for a four-game weekend series.
Neither team recorded a hit until the third inning, as the Maple Leafs scored the first run of the game, making the Mountaineers trail 1-0 as they headed to the plate to bat. Andrew Akins began the bottom of the third with a single and quickly stole second to put himself in scoring position. A ground out by William Hislope moved Akins to third before a Joshua Works ground out tied the game 1-1 as Akins crossed home plate. From that point on, the game turned into defensive and pitching battle as the teams combined for five hits over the next three and a half innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, needing just a run to win the game, the bases quickly became loaded for Berea as Dallas Adkins (double), Ron Overstreet (hit by pitch) and Nicholas Bottom (single) reached base safely with no outs in the inning. The three runners were left on base though as the next three batters struck out, sending the game to extra innings. Goshen scored a run in the top of the ninth inning and the Mountaineers were unable to score a run to extend the game further, dropping the first game of the planned doubleheader 2-1. Bottom finished 3-4 from the plate while Works finished with the only RBI for Berea. Michael Smither started the game on the mound giving up six hits and an earned run, striking out one batter while Joshua Durbin came in for three relief innings for the Mountaineers, striking out three batters while giving up a hit and a run.
After a quick top half of the first inning, Josh Wilson began the bottom of the first with a single to get onto first base. Wilson moved into scoring position with his speed as he used an Adkins single to get to third base before giving Berea a 1-0 lead when he scored on an error. Bottom's single turned into a RBI single when Adkins crossed home plate to push the Mountaineers ahead 2-0 as the teams went to the second inning. Two runs in the top of the second saw the score become tied 2-2 before the score changed again in the third inning. Adkins began the bottom of the third inning by reaching base via an error by the third baseman, advancing to second base on the throw. Bottom's second single of the game put runners on first and third with only one out in the inning. Berea regained the lead as Caleb Gupton hit a single which scored Adkins followed by a Hislope single to score Bottom, giving the Mountaineers a 4-2 advantage.
The fourth and fifth inning saw hitless baseball as the score remained 4-2 in favor of Berea heading into the sixth inning. The visitors scored three runs in the top half of the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead. A three up and three down sixth and seventh inning from the Mountaineers prevented the home team from scoring the runs needed to extend or win the game and the team fell to the Maple Leafs 5-4. Bottom finished as the leader at the plate, going 2-3 with one run scored and one RBI. Gupton and Hislope also recorded a RBI in the game. The starting pitcher, Griffen Norris, gave up four hits, two earned runs and struck out five batters in five innings while Tyler Pope pitched two innings and gave up two hits, three earned runs while striking out three batters.
Berea finishes it four-game weekend series against Goshen tomorrow at the Berea College Sports Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 PM with the second game of the doubleheader set to follow at 2:00 PM.