FRIDAY, February 6 v. Rio Grande
On a beautiful Friday afternoon, Bryan College Baseball took to the field after a week hiatus to face off against perennial opponent, the University of Rio Grande. The Red Storm have opened their season against the Lions in 7 of the last 9 seasons.
Game 1: Bryan 7, Rio Grande 5
In game 1 of the Friday doubleheader, Rio Grande and Bryan traded zero's early as neither offense was able to gain much momentum. The pitching match-up featured 2 lefthanders, as senior Andrew Knittel toed the rubber for the Red Storm and the Lions started junior, LJ Rowden.
The Red Storm struck first, as senior second basemen, Grant Tamane, hit a fastball over the left field fence to give Rio Grande an early 1-0 lead. Knittell held the Lions at bay for the next two innings, allowing Rio Grande catcher, Malduino Gonzalez, to extend the Red Storm advantage with a 2 run homerun.
The Lions were finally able to scratch a run across in the bottom of the 6th after a hit batter, a single and a groundball scored senior Joey Underwood from third base. The Red Storm would answer the lone Lion run with a run of their own in the top of the 7th inning as Rowden surrendered his 3rd home-run and 4th run of the day to Rio Grande. Bryan reliever, Brandon Marklund would surrender the 5th Red Storm run in the top of the 8th inning as the Lions fell behind 5-1 after a wild pitch scored a Rio runner from third base.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Lion offense began to come alive. Kevin Roberts and CJ Owens, led off the inning with back to back singles and junior right fielder, Langston Calhoun, scored Roberts from third with a hard hit ball to the first baseman. Senior first baseman, Kelvin McMiller, hit a hard single up the middle, that a diving Rio short-stop couldn't glove cleanly and another hit by second baseman, Cody Rhinehart plated the 3rd Lion run of the inning.
Bryan right handed reliever, Zeke Colby, worked a clean top of the 9th inning for the Lions, setting up the heroics of the bottom half. With 2 outs, in the 9th and down to their last strike, the Lions were the beneficiary of an error by Rio second baseman, Grant Tamane. Bryan senior, Chris Jeffries, entered the game as a pinch runner and promptly stole second base. It was again Calhoun at the plate with a single to left to score the tying run. Preston King, Bryan's left fielder, faced an 0-2 count and hit a high fastball over the right center field fence for a walk-off homerun; final score: Bryan 7, Rio 5.
Game Two: Bryan 7, Rio Grande 0
If late in the game offense was the story in the first game of the day, early offense and great pitching would rule game 2.
The Lion offense jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first three innings, riding the momentum off of game 1's walk-off win. Kevin Roberts was singled home in the first by Calhoun who would finish the game with 4 RBI's. Bryan took advantage of free bases in the second inning after being walked twice and hit by a pitch twice, Calhoun again came to the plate with runners in scoring position. A hard 2 out single to right field plated Roberts and Chris Jeffries.
The biggest story of game 2 was the pitching effort of Bryan junior, right handed pitcher, Francisco Colin. A transfer from Barstow Community College in California, Colin's first start as a Lion will go down in the history books as he recorded a complete game shutout allowing 0 hits. The no-hit effort by Colin was bolstered by good defensive play throughout and the junior struckout 8, allowing 3 base-runners on walks.
"What a wonderful experience for me," Colin remarked about his no-hitter. "My teammates played so well behind me and allowed me to focus on throwing strikes. It was a lot of fun!"
The no-hitter was the 3rd no hitter in Bryan College history as Rio Grande was no-hit by junior Will Stokes in 2006 and current Bryan senior, John Cain, no-hit Hiwassee College as a freshman in 2012.
The Lions returned to the field on Saturday against the Red Storm for a double-header to wrap up the four game series.