EMERSON, Ga. (Baseball) – The Shawnee State baseball team dropped a pair of games in the opposition's final at-bat, falling 3-2 in both contests versus Taylor University and Judson University on Friday at the LakePoint Complex.
Zachariah Freeman (JR/Richmond, Texas) notched three hits, a run and an RBI in the two games, and Conner Wilson (SR/San Diego, Calif.) and Brandon Reaman (JR/Dayton, Ohio) each knocked in a run, but the Bears (0-5) were unable to hold on late in the opening contest and fell in the bottom of the sixth in game two.
Game 1 vs. Taylor University
Shawnee State got a strong contest from starter Derek Moore (JR/Wheelersburg, Ohio) – allowing two earned runs on 10 hits while striking out five – but a fluke play in the bottom of the seventh cost SSU the victory in a 3-2 defeat.
Leading 2-0 heading into the final frame, Moore got the first two outs in routine fashion. Brian Moore followed with a single to center field to keep the contest alive, and a bunt single from Kevin Fahy used a bunt single to put runners on first and third.
One of the strangest plays perhaps ever to end a contest began as Nick Saldutti ripped a single down the right field to score Moore from third. The throw came into the infield, as the cutoff man slipped, sending Fahy to third and Saldutti to second.
Another error sent Fahy home and Saldutti to third. As Saldutti reached third the first baseman rounded the bag hard, setting up a rundown. The final throw came toward home and, as the tag was placed on the runner, the ball slipped out of the glove of Moore to allow the winning run to touch the plate.
SSU got on the board first in the game when Freeman opened with a flawless drag bunt for a leadoff single. Freeman stole second and advanced to third on a groundout from Mitchell Lendenski (SR/Loveland, Ohio). Wilson followed with an RBI double to put the Bears up, 1-0.
The Bears played add-on in the fifth, beginning with back-to-back singles from Andrew Dito (JR/Loraine, Ohio) and Matt Dvorscak (SO/Whiting, Ind.) to put runners on the corners. In a botched pickoff attempt, a throw sailed into the outfield and Dito scampered home.
Game 2 vs. Judson University
It was Judson who opened the scoring in the evening contest when – with runners on first and third – another failed pickoff attempt brought home Tanner Kehrer in the bottom of the opening frame, lifting the Eagles to a 1-0 advantage.
The scoring ceased until the top of the fifth inning, as Austin Hall (SR/Wheelersburg, Ohio) launched a one-out double to the wall in left field. Dvorscak followed with a single to put runners on the corners, and Freeman doubled to the left-center gap to lock the score at 1-1.
Following a scoreless bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth, Judson again got back on top in the tail end of the sixth. Kehrer began the frame with a leadoff double and – following an intentional walk – JU's Ron Sessler ripped an RBI single through the left side of the infield. A botched potential double play ball brought an insurance run in for the Eagles.
SSU was able to get one back in the top of the second, as Freeman earned a one out walk and Mike Watson (SO/Niles, Ohio) singled to put runners on the corners. Brandon Reaman followed with a sac fly, but the Bears were unable to bring another runner across, falling by the final, 3-2.
Brady Knittel (SO/West Portsmouth, Ohio) took his first loss of the season, going 1.1 innings in relief. Kyle Agius (JR/Riverview, Mich.) started the contest and went two innings, allowing an unearned run on two hits. Tyler Arthur (SO/Morehead, Ky.) shut down the Eagles in the middle innings, going 2.2 frames, while allowing no runs on one hit.
Shawnee State returns to action Saturday, beginning with a rematch against Judson at noon. A second contest follows, with the Bears squaring off against Mount Mercy University at 3 p.m. at the LakePoint Complex.