PORTSMOUTH – Baseball got solid pitching by committee and a couple key hits to edge out West Virginia Tech on Wednesday evening, 3-2. The Bears did not allow an earned run in the game and finally took the lead in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single from Mason Wisner (JR/Bay Village, Ohio) before the bullpen locked up the non-conference win.
Taylor Smith (SO/Crestview Hills, Ky.) got the start for the Bears and retired the side in order in each of his first two innings of work. An error in the top of third put runners on first and second for West Virginia Tech with nobody out, but Smith would induce two more grounds – the second of which allowed an unearned run to score – and a pop up on the infield to get out of the inning.
Todd Queener (SR/Mentor, Ohio) jump started the Bears' offense in their first scoring inning as he led off the third with a single and stole second with one down. A single by Daniel Daniel Katayama (SR/Sao Paulo-Guarulhos, Brazil) put runners on the corners before Jake Cain (SO/Cold Spring, Ky.) delivered SSU's third hit of the inning to plate the game-tying run. Shawnee State took the lead in the fifth inning. Ryan Queener (SR/Mentor, Ohio) started that inning when he reached on an error. Katayama singled again, while Cain was hit by pitch to load the bases. Wisner then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, driving in his first of two runs on the night.
The Golden Bears came back and tied the game on their second unearned run of the evening. A single and stolen base put a runner on second with nobody out. Smith would get a ground out to third to put one away. The Bears' right hander got two more groundouts to end the inning as not one ball left the infield in the top half of the frame. However, a passed ball allowed that leadoff single to score with one out, knotting the score at 2-2.
Shawnee State took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh. After two quick outs, Katayama reached on a walk and Cain was hit by pitch for the second time in the game. Mitchell Lendenski (SO/Loveland, Ohio), who came on to run for Katayama, swiped third during the next at-bat and he would score the go-ahead run on an RBI single to left field from Wisner.
The Golden Bears delivered a pair of singles in the top of the eighth, but SSU went to Nolan West (SO/Olivehurst, Calif.). Coming in from right field, West got a fly out and ground ball to strand both of those inherited runners. He would also set down the West Virginia Tech side in order in the ninth to pick up his first career save with the Bears.
Smith received a no-decision despite allowing just the two unearned runs in his six innings of work. During that time, he allowed the four hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four. Nolan Potter (JR/Kalamazoo, Mich.) came on to start the seventh inning and pitched 1.1 innings, allowing just the three hits but held the Golden Bears off the scoreboard to put himself in line for the victory. West would then close out the game by retiring all five hitters that he faced in the contest.
Baseball will be on the road this weekend as the Bears travel to Campbellsville for a three-game MSC series that begins Friday at 6 p.m.