March 18 - FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Junior Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) belted two home runs and had seven RBIs to lead the Bethany baseball team to an 18-10 triumph over Mount St. Vincent Wednesday afternoon in Florida.
The Bison (1-3) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the opening frame. Sophomore CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.) tripled to start the game and scored on a single from freshman LF Nate Tieman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby). Leasure followed with his first longball, a drive over the left-field fence to give BC a 3-0 advantage.
The Dolphins (4-5) used their own power to answer in the last of the first. Following consecutive singles to start the inning, RF Fernando Suriel smacked a three-run homer to even the score. Bethany would go back in front for good in the second inning, as sophomore 3B Matt Nemec (New Brighton, Pa./Riverside) tripled off the top of the wall in left-center to leadoff. He scored on a single from freshman SS Levi Bender (Buckhannon, W.Va./Buckhannon-Upshur), who later came home on a wild pitch. Leasure drove in another two with a double and the lead swelled to 8-3 on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of sophomore RF Mike Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands).
Mount St. Vincent tallied runs in the second and third to cut the deficit to 8-5, but Bethany exploded for seven in the fourth frame to take control. The first three batters of the inning reached to load the bases and Nemic, Bender and freshman catcher T.J. Zarewicz (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) followed with consecutive RBI singles. A double play sent another run across and the wave of runs was capped by Leasure, who hammered a three-run bomb to right-center field for a 15-5 Green and White lead.
The Bison margin ballooned to 17-5 with two more runs in the fifth. A Dolphin error allowed sophomore 2B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) to score and Zarewicz collected his second RBI of the day with a single that chased home Nemec.
Bethany senior Josh Eckelberger (Beaver, Pa.) was the beneficiary of the outburst on the mound, as he started and battled through five innings to even his record at 1-1. He gave up three runs in the fifth to make it a 17-8 score, but he recorded two of his three strikeouts for the day in that frame to get out of trouble. The Bison bullpen, highlighted by two scoreless innings from sophomore Adam Nyswaner (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette), finished out the win.
The 18 runs from BC was their highest total since a 20-1 triumph at Cal Tech on March 9, 2006. Leasure posted the most impressive day, as he went 3-for-6 with the seven RBIs. His two home runs give him three on the season and 15 for his career to tie Steve Opfermann for third place in school history. The all-time mark is shared by Aaron Meadows and Scott Deunger with 18 each.
While Leasure did lots of damage from the three-hole in the line-up, the bottom of the order was extremely productive as well. Spots six through nine, featuring Fudala (2-5, three runs), Nemec (4-6, one RBI, three runs), Bender (4-6, three RBIs, two runs) and Zarewicz (2-5, two RBIs), combined to go 12-22 with six runs knocked in and score eight times.
Bethany will gun for their second win in a row Thursday when they play Delaware Valley at 8:45 a.m.