April 20 - LATROBE, Pa. – After falling in the opener 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh, the Bethany College baseball team nearly lost a 10-run lead in the nightcap, but recovered in time to pull out a 17-14 victory and gain a split at Saint Vincent.
After giving up a run in the first inning of the opener, the Bison (17-12) took the lead with four runs in the second. Senior LF Mark Cummins (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) doubled in a run, two came in on freshman SS Ryan Owens’ (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) single and the final tally came on an RBI single by junior CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.).
After Saint Vincent (15-12) pushed in a run in the fourth, BC’s lead grew to 6-2 with a pair of scores in the fifth on RBI singles by Cummins and Owens. The Bearcats would chip away at the Bethany lead with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to get within a run at 6-5 heading into the seventh.
In the final frame, Bison freshman Brad Kubis hit the leadoff batter, but struck out the next batter and induced a fly ball for the second out. However, a single and walk loaded the bases, which was followed by a walk to force in the tying run and a single up the middle scored the winning run for the Bearcats and gave Kubis (1-1) his first loss of the year.
Bethany outhit SVC in the game 11-10, led by Owens’ two hits and three RBIs and Cummins’ two hits and two RBIs. The Bearcat comeback wasted a strong starting effort from junior pitcher Mike Kochman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seraa Catholic), who threw the first five innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits.
Game two saw the Bison jump out quickly with six runs in the top of the first. Kubis earned an RBI on a bases-loaded walk, senior RF Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) knocked in two with a double and junior catcher Josh Lawrence (Mather, Pa./Jefferson-Morgan) singled in one. The other two runs came home on a Bearcat error.
Bethany continued to add to their lead over the next few innings. Cummins singled in one and Kubis brought in another with a ground out in the second and sophomore 1B Nate Tieman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) hit an RBI single in the third for a 9-0 lead. Saint Vincent dented the scoreboard for the first time in the third with three runs, but BC’s lead swelled to 13-3 with four more runs in the fourth. Cummins had the big blow with a two-run single, while Lawrence and Dillinger also hit RBI singles.
The lead stood until the fifth inning when two Bethany errors opened the floodgates for Saint Vincent to make up the entire difference in one inning. SVC would end up scoring 11 times in the frame, with nine of those being unearned due to the Bison miscues, to give the home team a 14-13 lead. The advantage didn’t last long, as BC scored three times in the top of the sixth to regain the lead. Tieman picked up an RBI with a fielder’s choice, while Kubis knocked in the go-ahead run with a single and the final score came on a Saint Vincent error.
After freshman Zach Kozlowski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) left the bases loaded in the SVC sixth, Bethany added one more run when sophomore catcher T.J. Zarewicz (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) bashed a leadoff homer to center in the seventh. Kozlowski then shook off a leadoff single in the final inning to get two fly outs and a strikeout to earn his first save of the year, which gave the win to junior Zach Grayson (McKeesport, Pa./South Allegheny), who picked up the final out in the fifth and improved to 5-1.
Dillinger had a big day out of the leadoff spot for Bethany by going 3-for-5 and scoring three runs. Cummins and Kubis both knocked in three runs each and Lawrence had a pair of hits and two runs scored.
The Bison are now off until Friday when they travel to Westminster for one game to begin their three-game PAC series that will conclude with a doubleheader at Bethany Park Saturday at 1 p.m.