Dayton, Tenn. – Eight homeruns, two triples, seven doubles, 32 hits, and 23 runs later the No. 20 Bryan Lions Baseball Team dominated Milligan College (Tenn.) as they completed the sweep over their fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference opponent to improve their overall record to 28-9 and 11-4 in conference play. Milligan dropped to 15-16 overall and 8-6 in the AAC.
The hot hitting was distributed throughout the entire Lions team as they relentlessly stacked runs against the visiting Buffs. Evan Speicher (SR/Chattanooga, Tenn.) went 5-for-11 through the three games and compiled two runs scored and two RBI after doubling and homering in Friday's game and recording a triple in the final game on Saturday. Game two of the series was all Preston King (SR/Kingston, Tenn.) as he tallied a double and a homerun, while three of his four hits in the series came in that game. He finished with one run scored and three RBI. Langston Calhoun (SR/Berkeley, Calif.) delivered a shot over the fence in the final game, along with a triple in the game, and stole a bag in game one ending 4-for-12 with one run scored and two RBI. Justin Morhardt (SO/Winsted, Conn.) went 5-for-10 with one double in game two and one double in game three. Hudson Clare (JR/Jacksonville, Fla.)'s single hit of the contests came in game one as a double, but he ended with two runs scored in the series. Brookes Jones (JR/Franklin,Tenn.) had a stolen base and a double through the three games after securing three hits in nine at-bats with two runs scored and two RBI. Andrew Urbistondo (SR/Stockton, Calif.) and Jesus Astudillo (SO/Caracas, Venezuela) each chipped in an impressive three runs scored and three RBI, respectively. Urbistondo went a perfect 2-for-2 in the final game with a double and a homerun. Astudillo's lone hit of the series came in the opening game as he launched a pitch over the back-wall at Senter Field.
Crandon Wallace (SR/Nassau, Bahamas) cashed in an unbelievable performance with a scorching team-high six runs scored and four RBI after hitting 6-for-10. He set the mood in game one after cranking two homeruns and stealing a base. It wasn't enough for Wallace as he returned in the final game to seal his third homer in two days.
Speicher took the first pitch of the game for the Lions and put Bryan ahead 1-0 with a homerun. Milligan countered with one run in the top of the second to even the score 1-1.
Wallace scored the next run to put the Lions back on top with a single to lead off the bottom of the third. Speicher was walked, advancing Wallace to second. A sacrifice fly by Preston King allowed Wallace to advance to third. Calhoun connected on a pitch and was enough for Wallace to score, regaining a 2-1 lead.
The bottom of the fourth was the largest scoring inning for the Lions. Jones was walked and Urbistondo reached base due to an error by the Buffs. Astudillo watched as the Milligan pitcher sent a ball his way, and Bryan's dugout erupted as Astudillo ripped a three-run homer, extending the Lions lead to 5-1 after four innings.
Two runs were added by the Lions in the bottom of the fifth frame when Jones pieced together a two RBI double, plating Cameron Yoho (JR/Collierville, Tenn.) and Clare for a 7-1 edge.
As the lead off in the bottom of the sixth, Wallace had a quality at-bat as he waited for a 2-1 count before adding an insurance run for Bryan with a solo homerun. It looked like a replay in the eighth, except this time around there were two outs. Wallace watched as a different pitcher built a 2-1 count and made him pay with another solo homerun for the Lions final run of the game. Milligan managed one run in the top of the ninth, but Bryan held composure and picked up a 9-2 win.
The winning pitcher was Chris Sauve (JR/Mascouche, Quebec), giving eight innings of work and holding the conference foe to four hits and one run while striking out a notable nine batters and walking two. Tristan Legault (FR/Mascouche, Quebec) entered for the final inning and gave up two hits and one run.
The runs scored in the first game on Saturday (Apr. 2) came in bursts as the Milligan Buffs took the first lead in the top of fourth with their only three runs of the game. Clare served as the start of Bryan's comeback in the bottom of the sixth after being hit by a pitch, advancing to second on a passed ball, and then taking scoring position at third after Jones grounded out. Urbistondo plated the Lions first run of the game with a single. Astudillo followed with a walk, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Wallace connected for a single but managed to make it to third after an error by the Buffs. This leveled the score 3-3, giving the Lions a chance for the lead with the go-ahead run at third. A wild pitch walked Cody Rhinehart (SR/Ooltewah, Tenn.) and scored Wallace for a 4-3 Bryan advantage. King took all hope away from Milligan with a two-run blast, giving the Lions a 6-3 lead that they would maintain for a victory.
LJ Rowden (SR/Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) started at the mound for the Lions and lasted five innings, while surrendering only four hits and three unearned runs. He collected three strikeouts in the process and walked none. Jose Hernandez (SR/Perth Amboy, N.J.) earned his first win of the season after one inning of work and allowing only one hit. Chad Burrows (JR/Nassau, Bahamas) also pitched one inning and walked two and struck out one.
The Buffs were silenced to six hits and one late run coming in the top of the sixth with Francisco Colin (SR/Las Vegas, Nev.) controlling the mound for the Lions through six innings. He tallied three strikeouts during his six innings of action. Brandon Marklund (SO/North Vancouver, Canada) relieved for one inning, while collecting one strikeout and one walk.
Leading off in the bottom of the third, Wallace left his mark on a third Milligan pitcher with a solo homerun, providing Bryan with an early 1-0 lead. The Lions capitalized in the bottom of the fourth, placing pressure on the Buffs for an answer in return. Prentice Young (JR/Oak Ridge, Tenn.) entered as a courtesy runner after a Morhardt single. He advanced to second on a ground out from Clare and took third after a wild pitch. Jones reached base due to an error by the second baseman, which scored Young. Urbistondo showed that he could go the distance as he took the first pitch he saw and scored both him and Jones with his second homerun this season. Speicher and King ended a five-run inning for Bryan with RBI singles, giving the Lions a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Young scored his second run of the game by using his speedy base running and a final sprint home on a wild pitch, creating even more space as Bryan went up 7-0.
A lone run in the top of the sixth saved the Buffs from a blanking, but Calhoun clobbered his fifth homerun of the year to claim an 8-1 victory for the Lions in the final game and succeed in the conference sweep.
The Lions return to the diamond on Wednesday (Apr. 6) with a matchup against Toccoa Falls College slated for 5pm. Bryan closes out the week with another AAC series, but this time against Point University (Ga.). On Friday, the opening game of the series has a 6pm start time. They return to Senter Field on Saturday at 1pm to finish out the final two games.
For the full Bryan Lions Baseball schedule, click here.