DAYTON, Tenn. – Baseball was edged at Bryan by a 5-4 final Tuesday evening. The Bears (10-8) recorded a pair of victories against Bryan in the middle of February, but were denied a three-game season sweep as the Lions (11-9) scored a run in the bottom of the eighth that eventually turned out to be the game winner.
Shawnee State got off to a quick start in the top of the first with three quick runs. Daniel Katayama (SR, Sao Paulo-Guarulhos, Brazil) singled with one out before Todd Queener (SR, Mentor, Ohio) belted his second home run of the season to give the Bears a 2-0 lead. The Bears would then load the bases with a single and two walks. The Lions got a force out at the plate to put two runners away, but Brady Hightchew (SO, Newport, Ky.) worked a bases loaded walk to make it 3-0 before Bryan came to bat.
The Bears again threatened in the top of the second when starting pitcher Nolan West (SO, Olivehurst, Calif.) doubled with two outs, but Dalton Tinsley (JR, Kokomo, Ind.) was tagged out a home after leading off the inning with a walk. West allowed nothing through the first two innings, stranding the bases loaded in the second. However, Bryan tagged him for four runs in the third inning.
A double and single put two runners on base for the Lions with nobody down to start the third. The hosts knotted the game at three-all with a home run of their own off the bat of Justin Morhardt. Preston King played long ball again with two outs in the frame as he homered to make it 4-3 after three full innings.
The offense for both sides would begin to slow down after each side posted a crocked number in the opening three innings. Ryan Valentine (JR, Springboro, Ohio) came on in relief in the bottom of the fifth and left Bryan with three more stranded runners for the second time in the game. Valentine ended up pitching three innings and did not allow a hit, while striking out two and walking three.
Shawnee State finally pulled even in the seventh. Katayama was hit by pitch to start the inning, while Queener singled to put runners on the corners. West grounded out in what turned into a double play for the Lions; however, pinch runner Mitchell Lendenski (SO, Loveland, Ohio) scored on the play to tie the game at 4-4.
The Bears threatened again the eighth with a pair of two out singles by Hightchew and Brady Page (JR, Las Vegas, Nev.) but a groundout stranded both of those runners. Bryan would add the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth. After a hit by pitch to start the inning and one out walk put two aboard, the Lions saw the winning run come around to score after a wild pitch and passed ball. SSU was unable to keep the game alive as it went down in order in the final at-bats.
Baseball will be back in action tomorrow in a doubleheader against Montreat in another date that was added to the schedule after inclement weather in the area. Wednesday's doubleheader will get underway at 1 p.m.