KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Tennessee Wesleyan, Union (Ky.), Bryan (Tenn.) and Milligan (Tenn.) advanced to the winner's bracket with wins in the first round of the 2015 Appalachian Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament.
The tournament was kicked off as No. 4 Point (Ga.) took on No. 5 Milligan in the 10 a.m. matchup. Milligan jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. Point pulled within 4-3 of Milligan with a three-run third inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Michael Hughes. Taylor Harper tied the game a 4-4 with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
After early scoring, Point and Milligan settled into a pitcher's duel as both teams went scoreless for the next five innings. Heading into the tenth inning, Milligan struck first with three runs, Nick Loughry highlighted the inning with a two-run single for the Buffaloes as they took a 7-4 extra inning win. Tyler Weir went 3-for-4 with three runs scored for Milligan while Malone and Loughry finished with two RBI each.
In the second game of the day, No. 6 seed Reinhardt (Ga.) looked for an upset over No. 3 seed Bryan as they scored three early runs to take a 3-0 lead after three innings. Bryan battled back to pull within 3-2 of Reinhardt as the Lions scored on a Reinhardt error and a Langston Calhoun single.
A Joey Underwood RBI single in the fifth and a Kelvin Mc Miller RBI single in sixth gave Bryan the 4-3 comeback win. Calhoun led the Lions with two hits and a RBI. Bobby Gazzola led Reinhardt with a game-high three hits. L.J. Rowden tossed eight innings, allowing three runs on 11 hits while striking out five batters.
The third game on the day saw No. 2 seed Union score five runs in the bottom first against the No. 7 seed St. Andrews (N.C.). The big inning was highlighted by a Jackson Arnett RBI single and a Vance Sullivan two-run single. St. Andrews got a run back in the second on a wild pitch and in the third on a Matthew Beauchemin RBI groundout to pull within 5-2 of Union.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fourth and fifth on sacrifice flies to extend their lead to 7-2. St. Andrews tried to battled back with two late runs to cut the Union lead to 7-4. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the seventh as they cruised to a 9-4 win. Ryan Horvath led Union with a 3-for-4 day and a RBI. Beauchemin drove in two runs for St. Andrews.
In the nightcap, No. 1 seed Tennessee Wesleyan and No. 8 seed Truett-McConnell (Ga.) were locked in a pitcher's duel. Tennessee Wesleyan got on the board first, scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first. Trailing 1-0, Truett-McConnell tied the game on a RBI single from Chris Stevens. The top of the fifth saw the Bears take a 2-1 lead as they scored on a Tennessee Wesleyan wild pitch. Tennessee Wesleyan answered back with a run in the bottom half of the inning on a Wardy Polanco RBI double.
Knotted at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Tennessee Wesleyan broke the scoreless game with three runs on a Tyler Albert bunt and a Chase Edwards two-run single as they took a 5-2 lead into the ninth. With the bases loaded and two outs, pinch hitter Tate Gaines drove in two runs on a single to pull within 5-4 of the Bulldogs. Tennessee Wesleyan then closed the door, taking a 5-4 win.
Polanco led the Bulldogs with a game-high two hits and two runs scored. Jarrod Jameson picked up the win after tossing eight strong innings, allowing only three hits while striking out 11 batters. Jared Oliver took the hardluck loss for the Bears after only allowing four hits and collecting nine strikeouts.
Day two of the 2015 AAC Baseball Tournament will get started with two elimination games between Reinhardt and St. Andrews at 10 a.m. Point and Truett-McConnell will conclude the loser's bracket action with a 1 p.m. elimination game. The winner's bracket will get started as Union and Bryan will meet at 4 p.m. Tennessee Wesleyan and Milligan conclude day two action with a 7 p.m. start.
For more on day's games, please check out the DakStats Tournament page.
For more on the tournament, please check out the tournament page.