BEREA, Ky. – Two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for Berea proved to be the difference as Shawnee State baseball fell on the road Monday evening, 6-4. The Bears had just rallied to tie the game in the top of the eighth before the Mountaineers took the lead for good in the bottom half of the frame and ultimately retired the SSU side in order in the top of the ninth.
The Bears got on the board early with a run in the top of the first. Todd Queener was hit by pitch to start the game before singles from Daniel Katayama and Jake Cain made it a 1-0 game. Berea would take the lead with four runs in the bottom of the third. A double and walk put two aboard. The first run come home on an error in the outfield before a 3-run home run made it 4-1.
Shawnee State came back with one run in the top of the fourth. Dalton Tinsley started the frame off with a walk and eventually came around to score on an RBI one-out double from Brady Hightchew, making the score 4-2.
The score would remain that way all the way up until the top of the eighth. Katayama doubled to start that inning, while Cain reached on an infield error that scored pinch runner Alex Shears. Cain moved to third on a groundout and eventually tied the game on a wild pitch.
Berea also started off its half of the eighth with a double. A throwing error on the infield put runners on first and second with nobody out before an infield bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. SSU reliever Brandon Bonar struck out the next two batters swinging. The Bears should have been out of the inning without the error, but that one extra batter was the difference as he singled home two runs to give the Mountaineers a 6-4 lead. Berea would then strike out the SSU side in the top of the ninth to secure the win.
Ryan Valentine got the start for the Bears and went four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits, while striking out two. Steven Easterling came on in relief for three innings and allowed just one hit during that time, while striking out three. Bonar took the loss after allowing the two unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth in his one inning of work.