Berea, KY- The baseball team, ranked 12th in the USCAA, returned to the Berea College Sports Complex to play their final home games of the 2017 season. The team took on the Centre College Colonels in a doubleheader as the team continues to play their way into an at-large bid to the 2017 USCAA Baseball Tournament.
The first game began as a pitching dominated game as the two teams were scoreless through the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nicholas Bottom began with a single to center field before stealing second base. With two outs in the inning, Nathaniel Summey hit a single to right center which scored the first run of the game in Bottom and gave the Mountaineers a 1-0 advantage. Two consecutive errors in the sixth inning allowed Devin Belleville and Caleb Gupton to get on base as Berea looked to add to their lead. Andrew Akins contact with the ball caused an error enabling Belleville to score as the Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead before the end of the inning. Berea looked like they were going to walk off the field with the victory before a double by a Colonels batter scored the two runs needed to tie the game 2-2.
Pitching took over again in the extra innings as neither team could muster any offense until the 10th inning. Centre scored four runs in the top of the 10th, leading 6-2 as the Mountaineers came to bat needing four runs to tie and five to win in walk-off fashion. Summey opened the inning with a single to left field before quickly making his way to third base on two straight wild pitches. A Ryan Blevens walk plus a wild pitch put runners on second and third as a passed ball on Cambridge Dacci's at-bat scored Summey, bringing Berea to within three runs of tying the game. Blevens added a run before Akins walk and Joshua Durbin's single put the tying run on base. The final out of the game occurred as the Mountaineers attempt to tie the game fell short, falling in the first game of the doubleheader 6-4.
Summey led the way at the plate, finishing 2-5 with a RBI. Akins and Bottom finished with two hits as well, while Akins and Dacci were the other two players for Berea to finish with a RBI. Josh Wilson started on the mound for Berea and pitched six innings.
The second game started as a scoreless tie through the first two inning before Centre scored a run in the top of the third to lead 1-0. William Hislope opened the bottom of the third inning with a single to left field before moving to second on Joshua Works' walk. An error caused by the bat of Blevens tied the game 1-1 as Hislope crossed home plate. With two outs on the board in the fifth inning, a single to center field by Belleville followed by a Gupton double scored Belleville to give Berea a 2-1 advantage. The score changed to 3-1 in favor of the Mountaineers when an Akins single to shortstop caused an error by the first baseman, allowing Gupton to score. Two more runs in the sixth inning as Hislope scored off a Blevens single and Belleville's single scored Blevens gave Berea a 5-1 lead as the teams went to the potential final inning of the game. Two runs by the Colonels would not be enough to extend the game and the Mountaineers went on to win the second game by a score of 5-3.
Belleville and Gupton were the leaders at the plate for Berea, each going 2-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Blevens finished the game with two RBIs while Akins added a RBI of his own. Hislope scored two runs in the game. Matthew Wilburn pitched six complete innings as the starting pitcher for the Mountaineers.
#12 Berea (14-24) heads to the road for their final regular season games on Saturday as they travel to Madisonville, TN to take on Hiwasse College. The teams will meet on the diamond for a doubleheader series beginning at 1:00 PM and the second game will follow shortly after.