Elizabethton, Tenn. – The 20th ranked Bryan College Lions Baseball Team outscored the Buffaloes of Milligan College (Tenn.) 27-3 in their three-game Appalachian Athletic Conference series, beginning with an overwhelming 11-1 opening contest on Friday that set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Milligan got hot early to begin action on Saturday as they created a 2-0 lead through two innings, but in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings Bryan rallied for seven runs to secure a 7-2 victory. The two runs scored in game two would be the Buff's last runs of the day when the Lions closed with a 9-0 shutout in the nightcap for the AAC sweep, improving their overall record to 30-13 and conference record to 14-7, while dropping Milligan to 21-23 overall and 9-12 in AAC play.
Bryan took no time to answer as the top of the first unfolded in the series opener. Justin Morhardt (JR/Winsted, Conn.) got things started for the Lions by reaching on a walk. Courtesy runner, Prentice Young (SR/Oak Ridge, Tenn.), relieved Morhardt of his base-running duties, and then used his quickness to reached second on Wade Weinburger (FR/James Cistern, Bahamas)'s groundout. He continues making his way around the bases and stopped at third when Trevor Behrent (JR/Catawissa, Pa.) grounded out to second. With two outs, Lake Burris (SO/Chatsworth, Ga.) plated Young for the first run of the game when he connected for a single up the middle. It only took one swing of the bat when Fernando Garcia (JR/Kissimmee, Fla.) made a statement with a two-run blast, his fourth homerun of the year, to score Burris and extend the Lion's lead to 3-0. The damage wasn't over yet as Kila Zuttermeister (JR/Kailua, HI) singled thru the hole at shortstop and was trailed by Brookes Jones (SR/Franklin,Tenn.) who also singled. Zuttermeister advanced to third on the play and then caught the Buffaloes off guard as he scored on defense's indifference to put Bryan on top 4-0.
The Lions could have stopped after the first inning since starting pitcher, Brandon Marklund (JR/North Vancouver, Canada), hurled a stellar game as he surrendered eight hits and one run while walking one and striking out four to earn his fifth win of the season. But Bryan kept the foot on the gas in the top of the second. Mikey Rita (JR/Kalaheo, HI) led off by reaching base on a wild throw and attempted to stretch the play to second but was out returning to the base. Tyler Scott (FR/Calgary, Alberta) focused on his at-bat instead of the last play and provided a single to shallow left-center. He continued to help the Lions as he stole second. Morhardt, Bryan's hits and doubles leader, added another to his total when he drove a double to deep left-center that scored Scott for a 5-0 advantage. Young took over for Morhardt once again, and Weinburger showed patience as he was walked. Young's and Weinburger's time was short on base as Behrent brought them home with a two-run double sailed to deep left. Milligan was forced to make a pitching change, but the bats were already on a roll for Bryan. It looked hopeful for the Buffaloes when the first batter faced by the new pitcher resulted in a fly out, but Garcia was relentless with an RBI triple to far right-center that allowed Behrent to come in for the score. Garcia aided with another run scored when Zuttermeister singled to center to cap the rally, which raised the deficit to 9-0.
In the top of the third, Bryan chipped on another run and grew the difference to double-digits. It started with Rita being hit by a pitch and advancing to second on Scott's ground out. Morhardt already showed that he was on target, and Milligan gave him another pitch he liked, which he turned into an RBI double that he popped to deep right-center.
Two doubles weren't enough for the Lion's slugger as Morhardt tallied his third double of the day to leadoff for Bryan in the top of the fifth. Young entered to pinch run and knocked on the door for another score when he stole third. The Buffaloes tried to catch Young on the attempt, but instead the plan backfired as a wild throw gave way to Young sprinting home for the Lion's last run of the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Milligan avoided the shutout when Marklund walked a Buffalo. A single thru the hole at second base allowed the runner to take second, before they moved to third following a fly out to deep left. All it took was one wild pitch from Marklund for Milligan to post one run on the board as neither team could produce a hit in the seventh inning. The 11-1 final went Bryan's way, giving them an early 1-0 lead in the series.
The Lions outhit the Buffaloes 15-8 and were led by Zuttermeister who was a perfect 4-of-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Morhardt was also spotless with a 3-of-3 effort in the box, which all were recorded as doubles. He finished with two runs batted in and one walk. Garcia had a team-high three RBI's, going 3-of-4 with two runs scored, one triple, and one homer. Behrent doubled for one of his pair of hits and helped with two RBI's and one run scored. Burris had one hit, one run scored, and one run batted in. Jones produced one hit, while Scott also yielded one hit and one run scored. Young led all players in runs scored with three.
As Saturday got underway, Milligan had no hesitation in piecing together three hits in the bottom of the first for a quick 1-0 advantage.
Bryan's starter, Travis Moore (SR/Hastings, Mich.), handed over the reigns in the second inning to Landon Mosteller (SO/Clarksville, Tenn.), but the Buffaloes scored their final run of the game and last run of the day in the bottom of the second frame. A double down the left field line followed by a single to shallow center was all it took for Milligan to go on top 2-0.
After a quite third inning, Bryan came in alive in the top of the fourth with the help of Burris' leadoff double to deep left-center. Garcia advanced Burris to scoring position at third with a single up the middle. Zuttermeister connected in his at-bat and hit into a fielder's choice where he reached base, but Garcia was forced out at second. With runners on first and third and one out, Jones delivered a one-run double to deep right that scored Burris and moved Zuttermeister to third. Scott helped the Lions even the score 2-2 when he hit a sac-fly to center, setting up Zuttermeister for the score.
Bryan took control of the game in the top of the fifth and never looked back. Weinburger led off for the Lions and reached base on a misplayed grounder. Behrent batted second and moved Weinburger over after being hit by a pitch. Milligan made a change on the mound in hopes that would do the trick, but it wouldn't matter as Burris let the count build to 1-1 before going the distance on a three-run shot over the fence, which provided Bryan with a 5-2 lead.
Despite making a pitching change in the top of the sixth, the Lions collected their last two runs in the inning as Scott was hit by a pitch, Morhardt was walked, and Weinburger was walked to load the bases with no outs. It was Behrent who hit into the fielder's choice that led to the pair of runs as Scott was forced out, he reached first, and both courtesy runner Young and Weinburger scored on a wild throw for a 7-2 final.
Zane Glass (JR/Murfreesboro, Tenn.) came in for one inning after Mosteller, and was relieved by Austin Parrish (JR/Ringgold, Ga) who tossed the fifth inning and showed only one strikeout to pick up the win. Miguel Lopez (JR/Yaucco, Puerto Rico) closed the last two innings, scattered three hits, and recorded a trey of K's.
Burris homered and doubled in the game to lead Bryan in RBI's with three after going 2-of-4 at the plate along with scoring two runs. Weinburger matched Burris for the most hits on the team, finishing 2-of-3 with two runs scored. Jones had one double and one RBI on his lone hit. Scott had the team's only other run batted in. Garcia turned in one hit, and Zuttermeister also scraped up one hit and one run scored. Both Behrent and Young aided with one run scored, respectively.
A combination of Chad Burrows (SR/Nassau, Bahamas) and Sam Salyers (JR/Kingsport, Tenn.) on the mound and 13 hits by the Lions helped Bryan demolish Milligan in the series finale. The Buffaloes were allowed just three hits in the game, and the Lions added runs every inning but the sixth.
The first two runs for Bryan in the top of the first were a result of Morhardt singling up middle to leadoff, Young pinch running for Morhardt and stealing second, Weinburger sailing a triple to deep right-center that scored Young, and Behrent plating Weinburger with a single to right to claim an early 2-0 advantage.
In the second inning, Rita singled to get on base and then got a free trip the rest of the way home when Morhardt hit his eighth jack of the year, raising the score to 4-0.
Behrent started play off strong for Bryan in the top of the third with a leadoff double to deep right. Burris batted next and was hit by a pitch. Garcia singled to shallow center, scoring Behrent and advancing Burris to second. Zuttermeister gave Burris a shot at scoring with a sac-bunt that advanced Burris to third. All it took for the Lions to create a 6-0 gap was Jones' sac-fly hit to right-center that scored Burris.
Scott and Morhardt caught a break by successfully reaching base on back-to-back misplayed grounders by the Buffaloes. The Lions hit into a double play, but Scott advanced to third on the play. Behrent scored Scott with a double crushed to deep left that gave Bryan a 7-0 edge through four innings.
Zuttermeister singled to left and stole second before coming home off a single up the middle by Scott in the top of the fifth to make the score 8-0.
After coming up empty in the sixth inning, Bryan capitalized for one more run in the top of the seventh. Garcia led off with a single and then took scoring position at third when Jones singled thru the hole at second base. Pinch hitter, Jacob Justice (FR/Ringgold, Ga), corralled the final run of the game when he sent a double down the right field line that scored Garcia, which gave Bryan a 9-0 win.
Burrows is now a perfect 8-0 after hurling six innings and allowing just two hits, no walks, and tallying three strikeouts for the win. Salyers saw one inning and gave up a lone hit.
Behrent led the Lions in hits, going 3-of-4 with one run scored, pair of RBI's, two doubles, and a stolen bag. Morhardt matched Behrent for the most runs batted in with two as he closed out the last game with one run scored, one homerun, and two hits in five at-bats. Garcia was the only other Bryan player with a multi-hit game, ending 2-of-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Weinburger tripled on his one hit and chipped in one run scored and one RBI. Zuttermeister was 1-of-3 with one run scored, Jones was 1-of-2 with an RBI, Rita connected on 1-of-3 with on run scored, Justice doubled after a 1-of-1 performance and one RBI, while Scott wrapped up Bryan's hits going 1-of-4 with one run scored and one run batted in.
The Lions continue play at Mid-South Conference foe Cumberland University (Tenn.) on Tuesday, Apr. 18, at 3pm, and then travel to Southern States Athletic Conference opponent Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) the following day, Wednesday, Apr. 19, with the first pitch scheduled to be thrown out at 3pm.
For a complete look at the Bryan Lions Baseball schedule, click here.