KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan and third-seeded Bryan (Tenn.) clinched spots in the Championship Game of the 2015 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament with a pair of victories on Wednesday night, capping the third day of action at Hunter Wright Stadium.
With an 8-4 win over sixth-seeded Reinhardt (Ga.), Bryan captured the 'B" side of the bracket after finishing 3-0 in Tournament play.
In the win, Bryan once again fell behind to Reinhardt, first by a 2-0 score in the first, then a 4-3 deficit in the fourth. However, the Lions attacked back in the sixth and seventh innings, plating a single run in the sixth to tie it up, then three more in the seventh to go up 7-4. After scoring their final run in the top of the ninth, Bryan entered the last half inning scoring the last 5 runs of the contest.
Reinhardt, however, did not go out quietly in the contest, and loaded the bases with two outs, putting the game-tying run at the plate. But, Bryan was able to force a groundout to short to end it, lifting the Lions into the AAC Tournament title game for the second straight season.
Overall, Preston King paced the Bryan offense in the win, going 2-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI, and a run scored. Andrew Urbistondo was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Joey Underwood got a few rallies going with a two double, two run performance.
Tennessee Wesleyan once again coasted to a victory to slide into the title game, as the Bulldogs rolled past fourth-seeded Point (Ga.) in a 6-2 win. Offensively, a three-run lead opened by TWC in the fourth inning was plenty for starting pitcher Cody Albright to work with, as he tossed seven shutout innings before allowing a run in the top of the eighth inning.
Overall, two Bulldogs had two-RBI in the contest – Ridge Hoopi-Haslam and Chase Edwards. In eight innings of work, Albright allowed just three hits and one unearned run, striking out seven batters in all. Albright also retired the first 13 Point batters in order, before allowing his first hit in the top of the fifth.
In the first elimination game of the day, Reinhardt smashed 18 hits and scored runs in five straight innings to come back from an early 5-0 deficit to post a commanding 14-8 victory over Union to knock the Bulldogs out of the tournament.
The tide in the ballgame changed in the bottom of the third, with the Eagles trailing 5-1. With the bases loaded and two away, Chap Lindstrom smashed a pitch over the left field wall to tie the game up with one swing, as the grand slam knotted things up at 5-5.
Once the Eagles starting rolling, they never stopped the rest of the game, as they scored six straight runs over the next two innings to take an insurmountable 11-5 lead. In all, Reinhardt scored runs in five straight innings to pull away from Union and move on in the bracket.
Overall, the Eagles clobbered 18 hits in the victory, with Lindstrom leading the way with five RBI. Three different players had three hits overall in the game, with Cameron Eisen leading the way going a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
On the mound, reliever Max Smith (2-3) earned the win in relief, while Luke Cathcart recorded a save.
In the second game of the afternoon, Point made quick work of Milligan, coasting to a 6-1 win over the Buffaloes to knock MC out of the tournament.
In the game, Point broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with a run, then put the game away with a four-run sixth inning to take a 5-0 lead. Milligan notched their only run in the top of the sixth, but Point added the final run of the contest in the bottom of the frame, then coasted over the final three innings to move on.
Overall, Anthony Padron led Point in the victory, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Meanwhile, the Skyhawk pitching staff kept the Milligan offense at bay all afternoon, with Luis Florentino (4-5) earning the win, and reliever Daniel Wagner notching a three-inning save.
The AAC Tournament wraps up on Thursday afternoon, as Tennessee Wesleyan and Bryan go at it. First pitch is slated for 2:30 p.m. at Hunter Wright Stadium.