MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Baseball) – On a chilly afternoon in Tennessee, the Shawnee State baseball team was unable to warm up the bats, collecting just five hits during a twinbill with Milligan College to open up the 2015 campaign – falling 2-0 in the opener and 8-4 during the backend of the doubleheader.
Blake Maines provided the best bat for the Bears (0-2) all day, hitting in the three-hole during game one and in the cleanup spot during the second contest. Maines went 2-for-4 on the day, collecting a pair of walks to go with an RBI and a run scored, providing the lone run batted in for SSU all afternoon.
Preseason NAIA All-American Derek Moore (0-1) was strong as the opening day starter, going six innings while allowing five hits, a pair of earned runs, a walk and two strikeouts. The sophomore induced nine groundouts and four groundouts, but took the loss in the contest.
Tyler Arthur took the hill to start game two for the Bears, going 4.2 innigs and allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits. Arthur walked five and struck out one. Austyn Goodwin finished out the game, allowing two runs on two hits in an inning and a third.
In game one, it was a single inning which would prove the demise of the Bears, as Milligan (2-0) brought home its only two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Chavez Golden and Josh Peterson provided the two RBIs, plating Tyler Weir and Ernesto Fernandez.
The two run lead was enough for Buffs' starter Jake Watts (1-0), who went seven complete, surrendering just two hits to go with a pair of walks to earn the victory. Watts struck out five in the game.
In game two, Shawnee State was able to get on top early thanks to an erratic start from Milligan's Codie Campbell. Campbell hit Matt Dvorscak and Mauro Olivarria to open the contest, before an error allowed Conner Wilson to reach on an attempted sacrifice.
Maines followed with a walk to knock in the first SSU run of the season. Drew Haislop followed with a 6-4-3 double play, which plated Olivarria to give the Bears an early 2-0 advantage.
Arthur held the Buffs scoreless in the first, but the lead was short-lived as the home squad brought three runs across in the second on just one hit. Milligan scored another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to surge ahead 6-2.
SSU made a game of it in the top of the sixth, opening the inning with three straight hits – the first three of the game for the Bears. Wilson opened the inning with a single, and Maines and Haislop followed with singles to load the bases with no outs.
Another double play – this time off the bat of Adam Turner – brought home the first run of the inning and a wild pitch allowed Maines to scamper home, leaving the score at 6-4 headed to the bottom of the sixth.
For a second time, the Buffs responded quickly. Milligan used a bunt hit, followed by a double from Brandon Malone to score one, before an errant throw scored a second to bring the game to its final, 8-4, score.
The Bears were retired in order in the ninth inning by Wyatt Richardson to hand Campbell the victory and Milligan the doubleheader sweep.
The two squads are back at it again on Saturday for another twinbill. First pitch of game one is slated for 1 p.m.