May 4 - GREENVILLE, Pa. – The Bethany College baseball team’s season came to a close Sunday with two losses at Thiel by scores of 8-4 and 17-6.
The Tomcats (26-12, 8-4) used two-run and three-run home runs to fuel a six-run second inning to grab the lead. BC (10-28-1, 1-11) cut their deficit in half with three runs in the third frame. Sophomore DH Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) laced a two-out, two-run double for the Bison’s first runs of the game. Junior 3B Chris Jeffers (Woodsfield, Ohio/Monroe Central) followed with a single to bring in Leasure to make a 6-3 TC lead.
Bethany trimmed another run off the Thiel lead in the fourth inning when senior SS J.J. Eberhart (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) launched his first home run of the season.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the Bison would get, as they managed just one hit through the final five innings. Junior Josh Eckelberger (Beaver, Pa.) started on the mound for the Bison and held Thiel scoreless for four innings after their six-run outburst. The Tomcats finally pushed two more runs across in the seventh inning to clinch the win. Eckelberger went the distance in taking the loss, as he struck out three and walked a pair.
The Bison’s posted seven total hits in the game, with Leasure highlighting the effort by going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
Just as they did in the first game, the Tomcats built a big lead early in the second contest, as they scored five times in the first inning. Thiel tacked on three more runs in the third, but Bethany hit the scoreboard with three in the fourth inning. Leasure ripped another RBI double, with the other runs coming on an error and a double play.
Thiel did not allow BC to make it a close game like they did in the first game, as they scored four runs in the fourth inning and twice in the fifth. Bethany’s final runs came with one in the sixth and two in the seventh. Jeffers hit an RBI single for the tally in the sixth. The runs in the seventh came from a sacrifice fly from Leasure and an RBI single by senior 2B Anthony Talotta (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills).
The Bison recorded 10 hits in the nightcap, including two each from junior P/DH Milton Joyner (Pittsburgh, Pa./Westinghouse), freshman CF Tyler Dillinger (White Oak, Pa./McKeesport) and Leasure, which capped good seasons for all three. Dillinger’s first year in Green and White ended with a .326 batting average and 21 RBIs. Joyner (29 runs, 19 RBIs) and Leasure both finished the campaigns with identical .359 averages and Leasure topped the team with eight home runs and 34 RBIs as well.
The pitching loss was charged to Joyner, whose record finished at 3-6 for the season. There was another highlight for the Bison, as freshman Adam Nyswaner (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette) pitched 2 2/3 innings. It was the 19th appearance this year for the left-hander, which breaks the BC single-season record of 18 that was set in 2000 by Josh Molnar and tied in 2007 by Bobby Burger.