Dayton, Tenn. – The Bryan College Lions Baseball Team followed up their 13-3 routing of the St. Andrews University Knights (N.C.) Friday evening with a 9-0 blanking to begin Saturday and close 9-8 victory in the series finale to sweep their Appalachian Athletic Conference foe to open up conference play. The Lions improve their overall record to 16-5 and AAC record to 3-0, while the Knights fall to 12-11 overall and 0-3 in conference action. Prevailing in the series extended Bryan's win-streak to 11.
St. Andrews struggled to get anything going in the first game Saturday, and that was in part due to Brandon Marklund (JR/North Vancouver, Canada) who started on the mound for Bryan and tossed six innings, allowing only seven hits, walking one, and striking out five to earn his second win of the season. Jesus Astudillo (JR/Caracas, Venezuela) took to the mound for the first time in his career when he closed out the top of the seventh and showed only two hits during his stint.
Wade Weinburger (FR/James Cistern, Bahamas) and Trevor Behrent (JR/Catawissa, Pa.) didn't skip a beat and continued where they left off Friday after serving up a homerun against St. Andrews to begin the series. Once again, each led the Lions with a deep shot in the opening game Saturday. Weinburger finished 1-of-2 with two runs batted in. Behrent was one of three Lions with a multi-hit game and registered a team-high three RBIs along with two runs scored. Justin Morhardt (JR/Winsted, Conn.) was a perfect 2-of-2 with a double and was walked twice. Fernando Garcia (JR/Kissimmee, Fla.) connected on 2-of-3 with a triple, RBI, and two runs scored. Kila Zuttermeister (JR/Kailua, HI) tallied Bryan's only other extra-base hit after going 1-of-4 with a double. He also came around and scored one run. Prentice Young (SR/Oak Ridge, Tenn.) added a team-high two stolen bases to his total and scored one run. Lake Burris (SO/Chatsworth, Ga.), CJ Owens (SR/Oakland, Calif.), and Hudson Clare (SR/Jacksonville, Fla.) had one hit apiece. Bryan outhit St. Andrews 11-9.
The Lion's early lead was sparked in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double driven by Zuttermeister. Weinburger was up next and placed a perfect sac-bunt that allowed Zuttermeister to advance to scoring position at third. The Knights were plagued in their loss Friday by wild pitches, and they hurt them again on Saturday with their first one allowing Zuttermeister to stroll home for the first score of the game.
A groundout and double play retired St. Andrews in the top of the second before Bryan tacked on another run to their lead. Garcia led off with a single and raced to third when Owens also hit a single. Clare caught enough of the ball in his at-bat for a fielder's choice, as Owens was forced out but Garcia scored to extend the lead to 2-0 for the Lions.
After a quite third inning by both sides, Behrent broke the silence in the bottom of the fourth with his second homerun of the series, putting Bryan up 3-0.
The highest scoring frame for the Lions came in the bottom of the fifth when they ended all hope of the Knights. With two outs, Morhardt stayed at first with a single but was relieved by Young as a courtesy runner. Burris singled, advancing Young to second. Young and Burris each stole, putting runners at third and second. Behrent came through with a two-run single, scoring Young and Burris to go up 5-0. Garcia kept the momentum going with his third triple of the year, which leads the team, and scored Behrent. The last run of the frame came on another wild pitch, letting Garcia take advantage and give Bryan a 7-0 edge.
Weinburger provided the dagger in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run jack, scoring Cameron Yoho (SR/Collierville, Tenn.) for his first run of the year. Yoho entered to pinch run for Clare who led off with a single. The two runs sealed a 9-0 final, and gave the Lions a 2-0 lead in the series.
St. Andrews was first to get on the board in the series finale with three singles and two walks in the top of the second for a 3-0 advantage. Bryan cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the third when Morhardt doubled, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a balk. The balk advanced Behrent to second after he initially reached base on a walk. A single by Garcia plated Behrent, bringing the score to 3-2.
The Lions rallied in the bottom of the fourth to steal the lead away from the Knights. Zuttermeister followed two fly outs with a walk and was trailed by Weinburger being walked. Morhardt singled, scoring Zuttermeister and putting Weinburger in scoring position at third. Burris delivered an RBI single that brought in Weinburger. Another walk loaded the bases, but Bryan was unable to capitalize as a ground out retired their at-bat. The Lions controlled a 4-3 lead through four innings of play.
Austin Parrish (JR/Ringgold, Ga) took over to begin the fifth inning, relieving starting pitcher Landon Mosteller (SO/Clarksville, Tenn.). The equalizer was scored by the Knights off three hits and an error, leveling the score 4-4.
Bryan looked to end the game in the bottom of the frame when Owens led off with a solo shot over the fence, taking the first pitch thrown his way. Mikey Rita (JR/Kalaheo, HI) kept the pace with a single, and Zuttermeister's patience led to a walk. Putting two runners on and giving Weinburger a pitch that he liked was a mistake as he hammered a ball on a 1-2 count to add three more runs for an 8-4 lead. Weinburger and Owens own the lead for most homeruns this season on the team with seven apiece. Weinburger had three homers on the weekend with one in each game against St. Andrews.
Miguel Lopez (JR/Yaucco, Puerto Rico) took over on the mound for the Lions and got into trouble quick as the Knights battled their way back into the game. He walked a batter and hit another with a pitch. A single, wild pitch, and walk with only one out gave way to a change to Ryan LaFever (FR/Baxter, Tenn.). The unfortunate situation kept getting worse as St. Andrews recorded two singles before the second out was gotten. A double that tied the game 8-8 forced Bryan into another pitching change. The Lions went to their closer in Chad Burrows (SR/Nassau, Bahamas), and he got the job done with a final fly out to keep the damage from growing.
All Bryan needed to do was post a run and lock down in St. Andrew's at-bat, which is exactly what they did. Behrent couldn't let Weinburger be the only one to launch three homeruns against the Knights, so he let a full count build before smashing a solo shot for the game-winning run. Burrows got the first batter to fly out in the top of the seventh, made the second batter whiff, and ended the game with a groundout for the 9-8 victory.
Burrows was awarded the win and now has three wins and five saves with a 0.82 ERA. Mosteller hurled the first four innings and allowed six hits, three runs, walked three, and struck out four. Parrish followed with one inning of work and had three hits and one run to show for it. Lopez came in for an out and was blasted for one hit, three runs, and walked two during his short time. LaFever surrendered three hits and one run when he got one out in the sixth, before Burrows took over and closed out the final 1.1 innings with a clean slate.
The Knights had 13 hits compared to the Lion's eight, but it wouldn't matter as they struggled to string them together and avoid leaving people on base. Morhardt was the only Bryan player to have more than one hit, finishing 2-of-3 with a double, one run batted in, and one run scored. Weinburger, Behrent, and Owens each went deep in the contest. Weinburger had a team-high three RBIs and two runs scored. Behrent was 1-of-2 with two walks, one RBI, and a pair of runs scored. Owens went 1-of-4 with his lone hit being the leadoff homer in the fifth. Zuttermeister was walked twice and was the only other Lion with two runs scored. Burris and Garcia each had a hit and RBI, respectively, while Rita rounded out the hit column with one.
Up next for the Lions is the highest ranked team they've met so far this season, No. 6 Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.). Bryan travels to face-off with the Blue Raiders on Tuesday, Mar. 7, with the start time slated for 5pm.
For a complete look at the Bryan Lions Baseball schedule, click here.