After the poor weather over the weekend caused the games against Indiana Southeast, originally scheduled for Saturday, to be canceled; the Bryan College Baseball team traveled to Emerson, Georgia to take on Missouri Baptist.
The Spartans were voted the #9 team in the country by the NAIA coaches in the NAIA pre-season poll and in the Perfect Game Rankings released last week had MBU at #1. The same rankings listed Bryan Baseball at #21 setting up Monday's double header match-up.
Bryan 3, Missouri Baptist 4
In the first game, the Lions got to Spartan left-hander in the first inning as senior Kevin Roberts hit a solo home-run and CJ Owens scored from first base on a double by Preston King. Bryan starter, Chad Burrows was up to the challenge early against the Missouri Baptist offense. Burrows posted zero's in his first 3 innings on the mound and Bryan appeared to be rolling.
However, in the top of the 4th innings, Burrows struggled to find the zone, walking 3 and hitting one, allowing a run to score after a bases loaded, 2-out walk to Spartan second baseman, Aaron Collazo, scored Elisha Roundtree who had reached on a lead-off walk. The Spartans would strike again in the 5th inning to take the lead. Following back to back singles, Roundtree attempted a sacrifice bunt. Burrows threw high on the bunt and the bases were loaded once again. A double by MBU designated hitter, Aaron Pangilinan, scored 2 and made it 2nd and 3rd for the Spartans. A pitching change brought in Bryan lefthander, John Cain who would minimize the Spartan rally, although 1 more run would score after a passed ball made the score 4-2.
The Lions wouldn't give up easily however, as they would find a 1 run answer in the bottom of the 6th inning. Back to back singles by Owens and King, a sacrifice bunt and a pass ball lead to the 3rd Bryan run.
That would be all for the Lions as Spartan closer, Marcus Crescentini would toe the rubber for his 4th save of the season.
Bryan 4, Missouri Baptist 3
Bryan looked to bounce back in game 2 and got off to a hot start once again as leadoff hitter, Chris Jeffries ripped a triple down the right field line. He scored a moment later on a single by Roberts. Right fielder, Langston Calhoun, would single and first baseman CJ Owens was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Lions.
Missouri Baptist starter, Randy Wynne, proved to be a tough match-up for the Lions however as he pitched out of the jam with a strikeout of King and induced a ground ball double play to get out of the inning.
Bryan right hander, Hunter Tipton, worked hard to hold the Spartan offensive attack at bay. He held the Spartans hitless through the first 3 innings but in the 4th the Spartans would breakthrough. Following a lead-off single by short-stop, Brent Zimmerman, MBU left fielder, Orlando Olivera, hit a long home-run to left field to give the Spartans a 2-1 advantage over the Lions. Tipton pitched around another single in the inning after getting a line-drive double play. He then worked a clean 5th inning to finish his work on the afternoon with 4 strikeouts, 1 walk in 5 innings of work.
The Lions would work to tie the game in the top of the 6th inning, as a single by Lion shortstop, Andrew Urbistondo was followed by a double off the left center field wall by senior third baseman, Joey Underwood. The game tying double, set up Bryan heroics in the top of the 7th inning.
The Lions would lead-off the top of the 7th inning with back to back walks by Roberts and Calhoun against Spartan left-hander Jake Triulizi. Following the walks, MBU would again call on Marcus Crescentini to preserve the tie and give the Spartan offense a chance. It was not to be however as Owens sacrificed Roberts and Calhoun to second and third and they would score on a single up the middle by Cody Rhinehart.
Bryan reliever Zeke Colby was able to hold the lead for the Lions, although he did surrender a lead-off solo homerun in the bottom of the 7th. Colby would strike out the final hitter of the afternoon for the Lions and help cement the split.
"Today was a signature win for our team," remarked Head Baseball Coach Taylor Hasty. "We bounced back well today after the first game loss and I was very proud of the way our team played. I look forward to being back on the field tomorrow with a chance to do it again."
The Lions return to Senter Field tomorrow against Tennessee Temple. Game time is slated for 3 PM.