Dayton, Tenn. – Following their season-opening series last weekend, the Bryan College Lions Baseball team invited another challenging opponent to Senter Field on Friday and Saturday for a four-game series. The 9th ranked Spartans came to Tennessee with a 3-1 record and left with two additional losses when the Lions took game one with a 5-2 final and close out day two with a high-scoring 12-11 victory. After splitting the two double-headers, Missouri Baptist moved to 5-3 while Bryan sits at 4-4 having now played a team receiving votes and a school in the top-10.
Bryan set the tone early in the series by upsetting Missouri Baptist in game one as Chris Sauve (SR/Mascouche, Quebec) hurled six innings, allowing only three hits, striking out five, and surrendering the Spartan's only two runs. Sauve was awarded his first win of the season. Chad Burrows (SR/Nassau, Bahamas) relieved one inning and was efficient with one batter walked and three K's. It was silent through three, but the Lions changed it up with one run in the bottom of the fourth. Wade Weinburger (FR/James Cistern, Bahamas) was patient at the plate and reached on a walk. A wild pitch allowed Weinburger to advance to second. Alec Turner (JR/Carlisle, OH) capitalized with an RBI single, bringing Weinburger in for a 1-0 Bryan lead. The rest of the damage was done in the bottom of the fifth when Mikey Rita (JR/Kalaheo, HI) sparked a rally by walking, stealing second, taking scoring position at third thanks to a single by Trevor Behrent (JR/Catawissa, Pa.), and Justin Morhardt (JR/Winsted, Conn.) driving in two runs after ripping a double. With another Lion on base because of walk, Weinburger continued to be a threat with a two-run double, notching the final runs for Bryan. In the top of the seventh frame, the Spartans had hope at a comeback by beginning with a walk followed by a two-run shot over the wall, but it was all Missouri Baptist could produce as Burrows sealed the final three outs. All the Lions with one hit included Behrent, Fernando Garcia (JR/Kissimmee, Fla.), Morhardt, Weinburger, Turner, and Rita. Morhardt and Weinburger each recorded a double and ended with two RBI's apiece. Turner had the only other RBI.
It was all Missouri Baptist in game two as they held Bryan to a mere two hits through seven innings and showed only one run for it. On the other hand, Bryan struggled to slow any momentum by the Spartans as they tallied five hits and six runs against Tristan Legault (SO/Mascouche, Quebec) and seven hits and five runs while facing Austin Parrish (JR/Ringgold, Ga). Legault was given the loss after starting through the first 3.2 innings. Bryan was the first to get on the board as Weinburger produced the only offense for the Lions in the game when he blasted a solo-homer on a 2-1 count in the bottom of the second. The Spartans scored three runs in the third, added three more in the fourth with only one hit in the inning, grew their lead with a lone run in the fifth, and capped the 11-1 victory with four runs in the seventh. Weinburger and Rita were the only Bryan players with a hit.
Brandon Marklund (JR/North Vancouver, Canada) moved to 0-2 on the year after serving up eight of Missouri Baptist's nine hits and all four of their runs, with only two being earned. Zane Glass (JR/Murfreesboro, Tenn.) closed out the final inning allowing only one hit as the Lions completed a double-play with the final batter grounding out. Bryan scored their only run of game three in the bottom of the sixth when Behrent strolled to first after being hit by a pitch. He used his speed to take second, positioned himself at third after a single by Morhardt, and then reached home on a sacrifice fly swatted by Lake Burris (SO/Chatsworth, Ga.). Four hits and one error led to three runs scored by Missouri Baptist in the top of the second. The Spartans tacked on one more run in the third when they capitalized on a pair of bunts and wild throws by Marklund. The four runs were good enough for a 4-1 final, giving Missouri Baptist a 2-1 lead in the series. Kila Zuttermeister (JR/Kailua, HI), Morhardt, Weinburger, and Rita recorded one hit, respectively.
Despite giving up a six-spot to the Spartans in the top of the sixth, the 12 runs compiled by the Lions through the first five innings helped Bryan steal another game from the No. 9 team, splitting the series 2-2. Miguel Lopez (JR/Yaucco, Puerto Rico) started at the mound for Bryan and was given the win after allowing five hits and five earned runs through 3.1 innings. Landon Mosteller (SO/Clarksville, Tenn.) followed, tossing 2.1 innings and surrendering six hits, six earned runs, striking out two, and providing two free passes. Burrows continues to be clutch as he sat down the final three via strikeout after 1.1 innings of work and earning the save. To begin the game, the Lions battled their way to a strong first inning when Zuttermeister singled to lead-off and eventually scored following a bunt by Weinburger, a Morhardt single, and a groundout by Behrent. Burris put Bryan up 4-0 with a base-clearing three-run homerun. The Spartans took their turn going deep as they launched a two-run jack over the fence in the top of the second, cutting the difference to 4-2. They weren't finished as their first batter homered in the top of the third to close the gap to one, 4-3. Bryan pulled away from Missouri Baptist in the bottom of the frame when Morhardt started the inning with a double and made his way back home after Behrent took his turn at a long shot over the fence, lifting the Lion's lead to 6-3. The homeruns were never-ending as the Spartans knocked out a two-run bomb in the fourth, but was bettered by a solo shot from Zuttermeister and a three-run homer by Behrent in the bottom of the inning to give Bryan a 10-5 edge through four innings. The last runs of the game by the Lions were in the bottom of the fifth when Rita reached on a walk, scored on a triple by Zuttermeister, and Zuttermeister crossed home plate following a wild pitch. The Spartans erupted for six runs off seven hits in the top of the sixth, but the early runs rained down by the Lions were overwhelming and helped Bryan get the 12-11 upset in the final game of the series. The Lions outhit the Spartans 13-12 and were led by Zuttermeister, Morhardt, and Burris who each had three hits. The only other Lion to turn in a multi-hit performance was Behrent who was 2-of-4 with a pair of homers and a remarkable six RBI's. Zuttermeister had a triple and a homerun, and Burris recorded another Bryan homerun and also connected for a double. Morhardt cracked the only other extra-base hit, which was a double. Weinburger and Garcia had one hit apiece in the contest.
Up next for the Lions is a home matchup against Crossroads League opponent, the Trojans of Taylor University (Ind.). Game one of the double-header is slated for Friday, Feb. 17, with the first pitch thrown at 4pm.
For a complete look at the Bryan Lions Baseball schedule, click here.