PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The Shawnee State baseball team earned a split of its doubleheader with the University of Pikeville on Saturday afternoon at LeMaster Field. The Bears (26-24, 7-14) salvaged the day with a 12-4 drubbing in game two, thanks to a complete game by pitcher Zak Esposito and 17 hits by the Bears offense. The Bears of Pikeville (17-22-1, 6-12) took the first game, 8-2, over Shawnee State.
In the opening game, Pikeville jumped on the Bears first. After starter Calvin Sluberski pitched a scoreless first inning Pikeville scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second. Pikeville continued to extend their lead as pitcher Corey Gilligan pitched eight consecutive scoreless innings.
Sluberski, who tossed 4.1 innings in the loss, allowed four earned runs on four hits while walking five batters in the losing effort. Relief pitcher, Brandon Bonar, Taylor Smith and Jake Huber all combined for 3.2 innings allowing six hits for four runs in the game.
Pikeville scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth and four more runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead to 8-0. The Bears didn't score until the top of the ninth when Joe Henderson scored on an error hit by Ryan Queener. Shawnee State would then score their second run when Todd Queener followed his brother by reaching base from an error allowing Aaron Suydam to score.
In the second game, the Bears offense followed the tone set by Esposito on the mound. Shawnee State's offense jumped on Pikeville early and often, scoring all 12 of their runs in the first five innings of play.
After scoring four runs in the first two innings, the Bears biggest offensive inning of the weekend came in the top of the third. Leading 4-1, Shawnee State started in what looked to be a quick inning with two fast outs.
However, after Henderson got hit by a pitch the Bears got five consecutive hits to score four runs. The inning was highlights by Jordan Maier's two-out double to left-field to score two. Dustin Bickmeyer, Sluberski, Suydam and T. Queener also had hits in the inning to push their lead to 8-1.
Esposito meanwhile, allowed only one run on two hits through the first three innings allowing the Bears to extend their lead by seven. However, Pikeville got their biggest offensive inning of the game with three runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to 10-4.
Esposito finished the day throwing all seven innings allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out six batters.
That would be the closest Pikeville would get to Shawnee State in the game as the Bears scored two more in the top of the fifth to push their lead to eight. Eight Bears got at least one hit in the game as T. Queener (3-for-3), R. Queener (3-for-3) and Aaron Suydam (3-for-4) lead Shawnee State with hits. Maier (1-for-4) lead the team with three RBI's and Colin Keim (2-for-4) followed Maier with two RBI's.
With the victory in the final game of the weekend series against Pikeville, the Bears stopped a six-game conference losing streak. Shawnee State moved to 8-11 on the road and will return to Branch Rickey Park on Tuesday, April 16 to take on Ohio-Chillicothe, who the Bears have outscored 40-7 in their previous two meeting this season.
Shawnee State will then travel to Indiana University Southeast on Wednesday before hosting the Patriots of St. Catharine in their regular season finale MSC series at Branch Rickey Park.