April 24 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Despite belting four home runs, the Bethany College baseball team was forced to settle for a 13-13 tie with visiting Capital (Ohio) University Thursday afternoon, as the game was called after nine innings because of darkness.
After holding the Crusaders (9-21-1) scoreless in the first, the Bison’s (9-23-1) power was on display immediately, as freshman SS Nick Czapor (Liberty Boro, Pa./South Allegheny) smoked the first pitch of the inning over the left field fence for a solo shot, his second of the year. Two batters later, sophomore 1B Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) crushed an 0-2 offering to dead center field for his seventh long ball of the year, which is tied for the second most in a single season in Bethany history behind only J.B. Burge’s nine home runs in 1996.
Neither team scored in the second, but the offensive fireworks started up again in the third, as Capital scored five runs to chase BC freshman starter Michael Kochman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Serra Catholic). The Green and White responded in the last of the third without the aid of a long ball to tie the game at 5-5. Freshman catcher Erik Stumpf (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) walked with the bases loaded, junior 3B Chris Jeffers (Woodsfield, Ohio/Monroe Central) drove in one with a fielder’s choice and junior LF Mark Cummins (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) collected an RBI off a Capital error.
After a three-run outburst by the visitors in the fourth, Bethany answered again with four runs on one swing of the bat. With two outs and the bases full of Bison, Jeffers bashed a grand slam to left field to again move BC in front by a 9-8 count.
Bethany added a run to their lead in the fifth when freshman RF Mike Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) brought home one with a fielder’s choice. The top of the sixth was when Capital used the long ball, as catcher John Rowan tied the game at 10-10 with a two-run shot to right, but BC grabbed the lead right back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by freshman 2B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands).
The offenses continued to churn out runs in the seventh. With two outs and the bases loaded, Crusader 3B Zach Byers lofted a bases-clearing double to right field to give Capital a 13-11 lead. But once again, the Bison sticks provided an instant answer. Pegg singled with one out and Joyner followed by ripping his first homer of the season and the team’s fourth of the game over the left field fence to draw BC even at 13-13. The four jacks by the Bison are their most in a game since they tagged four out in an 11-9 victory over Thiel on April 13, 2003.
After seven innings and 26 runs, the pitchers finally took control over the final two innings. Bethany sophomore Chris Amon (Bel Air, Md./Harford Tech) retired the side in order in the top of the eighth, but BC left a runner stranded at second in the bottom of the frame. After Bison sophomore Josh Lawrence (Mather, Pa./Jefferson-Morgan) shook off a two-out error to keep the Crusaders scoreless, Bethany was set down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth and the umpires stopped the game because of the fading daylight.
The tie is the first of Bethany head coach Rick Carver’s 19-year tenure and more than 650 games at the helm of the Bison.
Each team finished with 13 runs on 14 hits, although Bethany stranded 12 runners and the Crusaders left eight on base. Five different Bison had two or more hits, led by Jeffers, who was 3-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored, and Joyner, who finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and three runs. Collecting two hits apiece was Czapor, Leasure and Pegg.
Bethany returns to action Saturday with a doubleheader at PAC-leading Thomas More (19-10, 7-1). First pitch in Crestview Hills, Ky., is scheduled for 12 p.m.