Following a Friday night loss to Union College, the Bryan College baseball team headed into Senior Day Saturday needing a sweep to keep the Lions in the race for second place in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Standings. Due in large part to senior contributions, the Lions were able to pull off the sweep and take the series.
Union was the better team on Friday night led by starting pitcher Matt Hasenbeck who moved to 8-0 on the season, tossing seven innings, allowing just three runs on five hits. Senior first baseman Nelson Price shut the door for the Bulldogs throwing the 8th and 9th innings, striking out the side in the bottom of the 9th.
However, on Saturday a combination of pitching and offense proved to be too much for Union to overcome. Starting senior right hander, Kenny Knudsen (SR/Sugar Hill, Ga.) was superb throwing a 3 hit, shutout, his 5th shutout of the season. The offense got going in the bottom of the 3rd inning, scoring 6 runs on 5 hits. The Lions would add 3 more in the 5th and 2 more runs in the 6th to add to their lead and Knudsen would strikeout the final hitter of the game as Bryan ran away with game 1, final score 11-0. Senior Kelvin McMiller (SR/Oakland, Calif.) led the Lion offense with a double and a home run to go with 3 RBI.
The second game of the doubleheader proved to be more of the same for the Lions. Union was able to work a run off Bryan starter, LJ Rowden (JR/Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) in the top of the first but the Lion offense would answer in a big way in the bottom of the inning as they chased Bulldog starter Matt Hamons with 6 runs off 3 hits and 2 Union fielding errors. The Lions would continue to add to their lead, scoring 1 run in the 2nd, 5th and 6th innings to go with a 2 run homerun by Bryan freshman catcher Jesus Astudillo (FR/Caracas, Venezuela), his second of the day.
Rowden was relieved by freshman right hander, Rex Romero (FR/Windsor, Ontario, Canada), who surrendered a two-run home run to left center by Bulldog first baseman Nelson Price. Senior reliever, John Cain (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) finished Union off however throwing the final two innings for Bryan, striking out 5.
"Senior day is always a special time around here," Bryan Head Coach, Taylor Hasty, remarked, "it is even better when we win the way we did. Our team does a great job cheering for one another and playing together, today was no exception."
The Lions improve to 34-14 on the year, with a 13-9 mark in the AAC. They return to action on the road at Lee University on Tuesday night.