Berea, KY- The baseball team returned to the diamond at the Berea College Sports Complex this afternoon after a couple days off from game competition. The team hosted the Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats for a doubleheader.
Berea made quick work of the visiting Sabercats in their defensive half of the first inning, coming to bat in the bottom half of the same inning and making their offensive mark. Josh Wilson led the game off for the Mountaineers with a double, putting him in scoring position. It was looking like Wilson was going to be stranded on base as the next two batters recorded outs before the cleanup hitter, Ron Overstreet, hit a single which scored Wilson to give Berea a 1-0 advantage. The team looked to continue to pad their lead as Caleb Gupton's reach on an error was followed by Nicholas Bottom's single to load the bases but the three runners were left on base as the next batter recorded the third out of the inning. The bottom of the second saw the Mountaineers add a run to their score as Joshua Works drew a walk to get on base before stealing second base and advancing to third on a wild pitch. Works made it a 2-0 lead for the Mountaineers off of Wilson's RBI ground out. A run in the third inning by Maranatha cut the Berea lead in half as a scoreless fourth inning sent the teams to the fifth inning with a 2-1 score in favor of the Mountaineers. Berea added a small cushion to their lead in the fifth inning as after a hit by pitch and a Josh Durbin single put Gupton on second base, Andrew Akins second hit of the game allowed Gupton to cross home plate to make the score 3-1. The visiting team scored a run in the sixth inning to cut the Mountaineers' lead to just one but Berea held on for the 3-2 victory.
Akins led the way at the plate for Berea, going 2-3 with one RBI. Wilson, Overstreet, Gupton, Bottom, Ryan Blevens and Durbin all finished with one hit, giving the Mountaineers a total of eight hits. Michael Smither earned his second win of the season, pitching five solid innings while giving up five hits, two earned runs and striking out six batters. Tyler Pope, who earned his third save in the game, pitched the final two innings and gave up three hits while striking out two batters.
A three-up and three-down inning to begin the second game for Berea opened the way for a five run first inning for the home team. After a hit by pitch put Wilson on first, Nathaniel Summey blasted a pitch over the wall for a two-run home run to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead. Singles by Blevens and Overstreet put runners on first and third before the bases became loaded on a Will Hislope hit by pitch. The scoring continued with Guptons two RBI single as Blevens and Overstreet scored to make the score 4-0 in favor of the home team. A passed ball off a strikeout allowed Hislope to score, giving Berea a 5-0 advantage as the teams moved to the second inning. Pitching took over through the next four innings, especially for the starting pitcher for the home team, Wilson, who did not allow a runner on base through five innings, giving him a chance at a perfect game.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Mountaineers started off with a Summey double which eventually turned into the sixth run of the game off of Bleven's RBI single. After stealing second and using a Hislope sacrifice fly to get to third, Blevens pushed Berea ahead 7-0 off of Bottom's double. The scored changed to 8-0 when Durbin's turned a single into a RBI single as Bottom scored. In the seventh inning, Wilson got the first two Maranatha batters out, needing just one more out to complete his perfect game. Unfortunately for the starting pitcher, the Sabercats' next batter broke the perfect game with a single. A one-hit 8-1 victory gave Wilson his second win of the season and the Mountaineers the doubleheader sweep.
Summey (2-3, two-run home run, 2 RBIs and two runs scored) and Gupton (2-2 with two RBIs) led the way in the batter's box for Berea. Two hits from Summey, Blevens, and Gupton to go along with hits from Overstreet, Bottom Durbin and Akins gave the Mountaineers ten hits for the game. Gupton also finished the game with two RBIs. Wilson pitched a complete game, only giving up one hit and a run while striking out seven batters.
After a five-game homestand, Berea (7-12) returns to the road for their next doubleheader. The team travels to Pippa Passes, KY to take on Alice Lloyd College on Saturday. Action is scheduled to begin at at 1:00 PM with the second game slated to begin at 3:00 PM.