March 17 - FT. PIERCE, Fla. – The Bethany College baseball team improved to 4-0 with two more wins Wednesday, as they defeated Earlham 6-4 and held on for an 8-7 triumph over Manhattanville.
In the opening game of the day, the Bison jumped in front with a run in the first. Junior CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.) started a big day by walking, taking third on a single by freshman SS Ryan Owens (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and scoring on a base hit by sophomore 1B Nate Tieman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby).
Earlham came back to tie the game with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, but BC moved back on top in the fourth with some two-out lightening. Dillinger dropped a double down the left-field line and raced home when Owens rolled a single through the right side for a 2-1 Green and White advantage.
Another Quaker sacrifice fly tied the score in the sixth, but Bethany grabbed control in the last of the seventh. Junior 2B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) slapped a bases-loaded single through the right side to bring home a pair and another run came across when Earlham committed an error on a ball hit by junior OF Mike Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands).
The teams swapped runs in the eighth inning, as the Quakers scored on an RBI double by Ross Yoho and the Bison countered when sophomore DH Marc Montecalvo (Washington, Pa.) bunted for a single, stole second and was chased home on an RBI double by sophomore RF Anthony Packer (River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley Regional). Leading 6-3 going into the ninth, Bethany would have to hold off one more threat, as Earlham scored one and loaded the bases before freshman closer Brad Kubis (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) got a called third strike to end the game.
Kubis’ save, the first of his collegiate career, preserved the first career win for junior Mike Kochman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Serra Catholic). He threw 7+ innings and gave up three runs on six hits. Junior Adam Nyswaner (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette) allowed one hit in the eighth, but picked up two strikeouts to protect the lead.
At the plate, Fudala had two hits and two RBIs, while Dillinger reached base all five times with two hits and three walks.
In game two, BC fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first but scored the next five runs. In the first frame, Kubis belted an RBI double and Tieman drove in one with a single. The lead increased to 3-1 in the third on a double play grounder and in the fourth, Dillinger brought in one with a ground out and Kubis hit a sacrifice fly to swell the cushion to 5-1.
Bison sophomore starter Zach Grayson (McKeesport, Pa./South Allegheny) held the Valiants in check through six innings, as he gave up two runs, one earned, on seven hits and struck out six. However, Manhattanville, who chipped into the BC lead with a run in the fifth, roared back to tie the game with three runs in the seventh to make it 5-5.
As quickly as the Valiants were back in the game, the Bison took control again, as they scored three times in the bottom of the seventh. Kubis opened the frame by lining a triple into the right-center field gap and scored on a Tieman single. A dropped foul pop up allowed senior DH Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) to stay at the plate and he took advantage by hammering a double to the wall down the left field line and a wild pitch allowed the final run to score.
Manhattanville had one more rally in them, as they scored twice in the eighth to make it an 8-7 Green and White lead, which is where the score stood headed to the ninth. After escaping trouble to hold on to the win in the opener, Kubis never gave the Valiants hope in the final inning, as he retired the side in order to claim his second save of the day and secure the win for Nyswaner, who threw one inning of relief following Grayson.
At the plate, the Bison pounded out 16 hits, led by Kubis, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Packer had three hits and scored twice and Dillinger, who reached base eight times in the two games, banged out three more hits.
Bethany will try to improve to 5-0 Thursday when they take on Mount St. Vincent in a single, nine-inning game Thursday at 9 a.m.