On a cold, snowy Friday afternoon, the Bryan College Baseball Team traveled to Marietta, Georgia to take on Taylor University at the East Cobb Baseball Complex. Many players from both teams had played at the East Cobb fields during their high school days and to return for a collegiate double header was a special event for both teams.
Bryan would fall in the first game 3-2 but Kenny Knudsen excelled on the mound in game 2 as he threw a complete game no-hitter, giving the Lions the 8-0 victory.
Bryan 2, Taylor 3
In the first game of the day, right hander Josh DeGraaf was superb for the Trojans of Taylor University. The Bryan offense was able to scratch just two runs off of him in 7 innings of play. DeGraaf would throw the complete game allowing just 3 hits, striking out 5 and walking 2.
The Trojans were able to score 3 runs off of Lion junior lefty, LJ Rowden. The first came on a long home-run over the big wall in left field by Taylor catcher, Lincoln Reed. Reed's home-run was the only extra base hit on the day for the Trojans. The second runs came in the top of the 3rd after back to back hits, a one-out bunt and an error by Bryan short-stop, Andrew Urbistondo, gave Taylor a 3-0 lead.
The Lions would manufacture a run in the bottom of the 3rd to cut the lead to 2. The run came as a lead-off single by Jesus Astudillo in the 3rd, led to an advance on a wild pitch and sacrifice bunt. Chris Jeffries would score courtesy runner Crandon Wallace from 3rd base on a ground ball to the first baseman.
After Rowden held the Trojans scoreless in the top of the 4th, the Lion offense would strike again as the second run came after a 1 out double by CJ Owens. Preston King singled Owens to third base who scored on a sacrifice fly to center-field by Cody Rhinehart.
That would be all of the scoring for both teams as Zeke Colby and Jose Hernandez worked key innings out of the pen for Bryan but the Lion offense was unable to solve DeGraaf who held the Lions scoreless over the final 3 innings.
Bryan 8, Taylor 0
Game 2 of the day featured the second no-hitter for the Lions during the 2015 season. Bryan senior right handed pitcher, Kenny Knudsen, who came up 3 outs short in a no-hit bid the week prior against Madonna, was able to finish the no-hitter this time as he was exceptional over 7 innings. Knudsen allowed just 4 base-runners and struck out the side in the 1st and 5th innings on his way to 14 strikeouts.
The Bryan offense got going from the very beginning in this one as they scored in 4 innings and had a runner in scoring position in the other two. The first run of the day came after a leadoff walk in the first inning to Chris Jeffries, who moved up on a wild pitch, was moved to 3rd base by Roberts and a deep fly ball to center by Langston Calhoun gave Bryan the only run they would need.
Not finished however, the Lions would score 1 in the 2nd and 2 in the 3rd to give Knudsen a 4-0 cushion through 3 innings of play. The top of the Bryan line-up set the table for the Lions as Jeffries and Roberts reached base 7 of 8 at-bats, scoring 5 of the 8 Lion runs.
The biggest inning for the Lions came in the 5th as once again Jeffries and Roberts found themselves on base after an error and a hit batter. Langston Calhoun worked a tough walk which brought junior first baseman, CJ Owens to the plate. Owens would double down the right field line for his second double of the day, this one scored Jeffries and Roberts and brought Cody Rhinehart to the plate with runners on second and third. Rhinehart singled home Calhoun from third and shortstop, Andrew Urbistondo, would score Owens on a groundball a batter later.
The Lion defense was strong over the final two innings as Knudsen only struck out 2 to finish the no-hitter. The final out was recorded on a fly ball to center-field and the Lion players rushed the field to celebrate a no-hitter for the second time this season.
"This is a special group of guys," remarked Bryan head baseball coach Taylor Hasty, "Our senior leadership is strong and this was demonstrated today by Knudsen's effort on the mound following a tough game 1 loss. I am excited about the opportunities ahead for this team."
The Lions will return to the field in Emerson, Georgia on Monday to take on pre-season NAIA #9 Missouri Baptist. Baseball Scouting Service Perfect Game, recently named the MBU Spartans the #1 NAIA team in the country. The double-header will take place at 12 PM on Perfect Game's turf fields located at the Lake Point Sports Complex.