BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Baseball) – The Shawnee State baseball team rode the coat tails of a five-hit shutout from starter Derek Moore (SO/Wheelersburg, Ohio), scraping out a pair of runs, as the Bears defeated St. Catharine, 2-0, in the opening round of the Mid-South Conference Tournament on Wednesday evening at Bowling Green Park.
Moore was spectacular throughout, surrendering just five hits and retiring the final 10 batters he faced. The right hander worked out of jams in the first and fourth frames, stranding a pair of runners in each inning, but was perfect in the second, third, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
In the fourth, Dominique Guevara and Francisco Gonzalez each singled with one away, but Moore worked a soft liner from Nick Rosso for the second out and fanned Tyler Devine with a fastball at the letters, as the visibly excited pitcher put an end to the threat.
Meanwhile, Moore's counterpart and recently-named Mid-South Conference Pitcher of the Year, John Werner, was having equal success on the bump. The senior starter retired the first eight batters he faced before an error allowed Andrew Vanthournout (FR/Bowling Green, Ky.) to reach with two outs in the first.
The Bears also put together a threat in the bottom of the fourth, as Blake Maines (SO/Burlington, Ky.) recorded the first base knock for SSU with one away. Conner Wilson (JR/San Diego, Calif.) followed with a walk and Mauro Olivarria (JR/San Diego, Calif.) singled to load the bases with one away. Werner earned back-to-back strikeouts to put the threat to rest.
In the seventh, the Shawnee State offense got to work. Adam Turner (FR/Lansing, Mich.) opened the frame with a single and, following a strikeout, Andrew Vanthournout ripped a double – the lone extra-base to that point – to put a pair in scoring position with one away.
The next batter, Mitchell Lendenski (JR/Loveland, Ohio), was unable to finish the job the conventional way, striking out on a full count, but the pitch snuck through the legs of the St. Catharine catcher and Adam Shears – who was on third as a courtesy runner for Turner – scampered home to give the Bears a 1-0 advantage.
That was all the space Moore would need, but Turner decided to give his pitcher some more. In the top of the ninth – with Werner having given way to the bullpen – the catcher launched the second pitch he saw into the SSU bullpen past the left field wall. The homer was the first by anyone on the opening day of the tournament.
Though his pitch count was hovering near the 100 mark, it was Moore's game to finish. The sophomore made it easy on himself, retiring three straight in the ninth to put away the victory.
Moore finished with 124 pitches, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out five in the shutout victory.
Mauro Olivarria and Turner each collected a pair of hits, with Turner scoring both runs for SSU.
The Bears move on to play the victor of the final game of the day, pitting Lindsey Wilson College versus the University of the Cumberlands. SSU and the winner will face off at 7 p.m. ET.