Cougar News
Baseball - Sun, Apr. 7, 2013
HENDERSON, Tenn. - The Mid-Continent University baseball team came within a whisper of a double-header sweep at Freed-Hardeman University on Saturday afternoon. They also were very nearly swept in that twin-bill.
Mid-Continent (10-26, 1-5) saw a 6-2 lead evaporate in the final four innings of the first game of the double-header, as NAIA #19 Freed-Hardeman (30-6-1, 2-1) rallied for a 7-6 win, but the Cougars managed to scratch across a run in the eighth inning of game two, salvaging a win in the series with a 5-4 victory in extra innings.
Freed-Hardeman tallied first in game one, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning off Mid-Continent's Jack Coleman, but in the next three frames, the Mid-Continent offense sprang to life. Mid-Continent scored twice in the second inning, and though the Lions tied the game in the bottom of the second, the Cougars quickly reclaimed the advantage with an RBI double from Richard Arias in the third, taking a 3-2 edge into the fourth frame. Mid-Continent added three runs to their lead in the fourth stanza, an inning highlighted by doubles from Jordan Adams and Adam Riley, building their lead to 6-2. In the bottom of the inning, however, the Lions used a patient approach at the plate and had a big inning of their own. Freed-Hardeman used three hits and three walks to score four times to knot the score at 6-6, chasing Coleman in the process. Michael Edwards entered the game and stifled the rally, giving his team a chance to reclaim the lead, but Blake Vaughan was thrown out at the plate on a double from Uriel Hawkins in the sixth inning, leaving the score tied a 6-6 heading into the bottom of the frame. Freed-Hardeman got a leadoff base hit from Kyle Dearing, who advanced to second on a throwing error, but Edwards settled down, retiring two of the next three hitters, leaving runners at the corners for the Lions' Joe Mike. Mike - a Mayfield, Ky. native - lined a single to left, scoring Dearing, and providing the Lions with the winning margin of 7-6.
Eric Tompkins (3-0) took the win, retiring just one batter in the top of the sixth, defeating Edwards (2-4) who yielded just one earned run on five hits in three innings of work. Drew Suttles (4) threw the seventh for the Lions, earning the save. Hawkins and Arias each had a pair of hits in the game, including a double, and an RBI, while Adams scored twice for the Cougars.
The teams traded runs in the first inning of game two, but in the second, Mid-Continent took the lead, and they would hold it for much of the remainder of the day. Dylan Rasch (1) lined a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence with one out in the inning, and Hawkins drove in Riley two batters later with a single to left-center to put the Cougars up 3-1. Dondre McCarter continued his red-hot weekend in the third, lacing a base hit to right-center scoring Joseph Blair to stretch Mid-Continent's lead to 4-1, and that appeared it would be enough as Caleb Luttrell continued to keep the Lions' offense stymied.
Pitching on just two days rest after tossing 83 pitches against Oakland City on Wednesday, Luttrell threw four and two-thirds innings in relief of Mid-Continent Starter Todd Adams, racking up eight strikeouts and scattering three hits. The Lions began to rally against Luttrell in the fifth, however, drawing a pair of walks and with two out and the bases loaded, Luttrell was lifted for Edwards. The move back-fired, as Edwards walked the only two men he faced, pulling Freed-Hardeman within one at 4-3. Blake Balderaz was summoned from the bullpen to relieve Edwards, and Balderaz got Ryan Huber to bounce out 5-3 to end the inning and temporarily preserve the lead. Mike delivered a seeing-eye single for Freed-Hardeman in the sixth inning off Balderaz, driving in the tying run and after a scoreless seventh inning, the game headed to extras tied at 4-4.
In the top of the eighth, Dylan Rasch popped a single over the head of Freed-Hardeman left-hander Ryan Wood, landing the ball on the infield grass for a leadoff single, and he advanced to second on Dearing's wild throw, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position with no one out in the inning. After Riley smashed a line drive that wood caught while ducking out of the way, Hawkins reached on a second Lions' error, putting runners as the corners with one out for Hunter Bolden. Bolden bluffed a bunt on the first pitch, drawing the corner infielders in a couple of steps each, which allowed him to chop the next pitch slowly through the left side of the infield for an RBI single, scoring pinch-runner Reed Vaughan, and giving Mid-Continent the lead 5-4. Paducah, Ky. native Bill Schroeder shut down the Lions in the bottom of the frame, and the Cougars took game two 5-4.
Schroeder (1-0) threw the final two innings for Mid-Continent, earning the first win of his collegiate career and defeating Wood (4-1) in the process. The Cougars pounded out 14 hits in the game, with six different Cougars having two hits and eight of the nine Mid-Continent starters picking up at least one base knock.
Mid-Continent returns to the field on Tuesday afternoon, when they head to St. Catherine, Ky. to take on the Patriots of St. Catherine College (30-13). First pitch is scheduled for Noon Central Time.