PORTSMOUTH— Baseball capped of their Mid-South Conference opening series against the Bluefield Rams with winning both games on Sunday's doubleheader. The Bears (11-8, 3-0) took the first game 5-3, before taking the series finale against the Rams (7-10, 2-5), 8-5 in extra innings.
Shawnee State got used quality pitching and timely hitting the entire day to earn a season sweep over Bluefield. The Bears fell behind once again to the Rams in both games, marking the third game in which they came from behind to grab victories.
Playing as the guest on the scoreboard, the Bears found themselves trailing 2-0 heading into the top of the fifth in game 1. Daniel Katayama started the fifth with a walk as Charles Matsunami sacrifice bunt advanced Katayama to second. Brady Hightchew followed by reaching first from the third baseman, allowing Katayama to advance to third. The Bears then got their first run of the game off of Todd Queener's sacrifice fly ball to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Shawnee State kept the momentum going in the top of the sixth inning. Colin Keim, who finished the game going 2-for-4 at the plate, started the sixth with a single. After pinch runner Aaron Suydam stole second, Cody Spires doubled of the center field wall to tie the game at 2-all.
Spires went 3-for-5 with two RBI's in the game with no bigger hit than the game-tying double in the sixth.
The Bears weren't ready to go into hibernation either. Shawnee State would then score two more in the seventh and one in the ninth.
Starting pitcher Cody Strayer (1-0) earned his first victory of the season tossing an impressive 6.1 innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits. Senior pitcher Jordan Williams (3) came in and tossed 2.2 innings allowing zero runs on only three hits to earn his third save of the season.
Strong pitching quickly became a theme as it carried over in game 2. However, this time the Rams starting pitcher Zac Russell-Myers was responsible. With the Bears scoring a combined 17 runs on 25 hits in the first two games, Russell-Myers slowed Shawnee as much as he could.
Russell-Myers retired the first 16 Bears in order, taking a no-hit bid and a 2-0 lead into the top of the sixth inning. With one out in the inning, Shawnee finally broke through. Tyler Bice singled and two batters later T. Queener followed with a single. Calvin Sluberski then followed with a two-out base clearing triple to tie the game at 2-all.
The Bears weren't finished. Joe Henderson followed Sluberski with ripping a fastball over the right field wall for a two-run homerun, giving Shawnee a 4-2 lead.
However, Bluefield struck right back with three runs in the bottom half of the sixth off of reliever Williams to take a 5-4 lead heading to the top of the seventh.
Needing at least one run to stay alive, the Bears once again found the timely hit when it counted. With two-outs in the inning and two on, T. Queener played hero. With a full-count Queener roped a fastball to center field to score Suydam to tie the game at 5-5.
Williams pitched a scoreless seventh to take the game into extra innings. Shawnee State then would go on to score three runs on four hits in the top of the eighth inning.
Williams (3-1), who was making his second appearance of the day and third of the weekend, closed out the eighth to finished the game throwing 2.1 innings allowing three hits on no runs. He finished the day throwing 6.0 innings allowing only six hits and no runs.
Shawnee State will be back in action tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at Branch Rickey Park in a doubleheader non-conference affair with Ohio Christian University. The Bears then will follow that with a double header on Wednesday against Concordia University before taking on (RV) Cumberland University this weekend.