April 11 - CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The Bethany baseball team dropped all three games in a rare PAC tripleheader at Thomas More Saturday, who posted victories of 8-2, 4-0 and 7-2.
The teams were forced to play all three of their conference games Saturday after Friday’s single nine-inning tilt was postponed because of rain.
In the first game of the day, the Saints (20-4-1, 5-1) grabbed the lead in the first inning on a two-run homer by Andrew Thole off BC sophomore starter Mike Kochman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Serra Catholic). In the second inning, Thomas More used three Bison errors to score three unearned runs and build up a 5-0 advantage. The hosts added two more runs in the fourth and their final tally came in the fifth.
At the plate, Bethany (1-19, 0-12) couldn’t get anything going against TMC starter Kyle Wewe until late. Although the Bison managed to load the bases in the fifth with an error and two walks, they didn’t score that inning and didn’t get a hit until freshman 3B Anthony Packer (River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley Regional) singled with two outs in the sixth.
The Green and White broke up the shutout bid in the seventh when sophomore CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.) knocked in one run by reaching on an error and sophomore 2B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) singled in the other run.
Thomas More’s pitching was the story again in game two, as Paul Uhl blanked Bethany on just one hit, which was a leadoff single by freshman 3B Chad Stephen (Barnesville, Ohio) in the fourth inning.
The Saints provided their starter with enough support by scoring twice in the first inning and twice more in the third. Two of the runs were unearned, as Bethany committed one error in each frame to aid the TMC efforts.
Saturday’s finale was the nine-inning game and the teams exchanged zeroes through the first four innings. Bison sophomore starter Robert Erickson (Saugus, Calif./Chaminade College Prep) didn’t allow a hit through the first four innings, but immediately ran into trouble in the fifth after two singles and a walk loaded the bases to start the inning. Another walk brought in the game’s first run and senior Josh Eckelberger (Beaver, Pa.) came in from the bullpen. He limited the damage by getting a sacrifice fly and ground out to keep BC within two.
In the sixth, Thomas More scored one and then used a Bison error in the seventh to open the door for four runs, three unearned, to extend their lead to 7-0. Bethany tallied a pair of runs in the eighth on an RBI single by freshman Bryce Patterson (McKeesport, Pa.) and an RBI fielder’s choice by Fudala, but the Saints retired BC in the ninth to complete the sweep.
The Bison recorded seven hits in the final game, with two coming from Stephen and junior RF Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central). The only extra base hit registered by Bethany was a double by Dillinger.
Bethany will return to action on Tuesday when they host Saint Vincent in a doubleheader at Bethany Park. The games will not count in the league standings, as the Bearcats are still in their provisional status in the NCAA Division III and the PAC. First pitch is schedule for 1 p.m.