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LEASURE’S 4 HOMERS KEY BISON SPLIT WITH THOMAS MORE
April 17 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After belting a pair of solo home runs in a 12-6 game one loss, senior RF Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) blasted two more long balls in the nightcap to help lead the Bethany College baseball to an 11-7 victory over Thomas More and gain a split of Saturday’s doubleheader.
The Bison improved to 16-10 overall and 4-7 in the PAC with the split, while the Saints also stand at 16-10 overall and suffered their first PAC loss of the season (4-1). The teams will play the deciding game of their three-game set Sunday at noon at Bethany Park.
In game two, TMC took a 1-0 lead in the first with an unearned run, but Bethany rebounded with four scores in the last of the frame. Freshman 3B Brad Kubis (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) hit an RBI single with one out and after the next batter flied out, Leasure crushed a three-run bomb to left to give BC a 4-1 lead.
Thomas More chipped away at the lead with a run in the second, two in the third to tie the score and grabbed a 5-4 lead with a run in the fourth. That lasted until the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the frame, as Leasure drove his second homer of the game and fourth of the day deep over the left-field fence to tie the score. The Bison weren’t done that inning, as freshman DH Matt Paonessa (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) doubled after Leasure’s shot, took third on a sacrifice and scored when freshman SS Alex Evans (Washington, Pa.) singled past a drawn-in shortstop.
In the fifth, the Saints answered right back with three straight hits to retake the lead at 7-6. Bethany would move back in front in the fifth with a wild sequence. Junior 2B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) stroked an RBI double to tie the game and put runners on second and third with one out and Leasure coming to bat. The Saints were in the process of intentionally walking the BC slugger when their pitcher was called for a balk, sending the go-ahead run home. The Bison would add two more runs off a wild pitch and a Saints’ error to carry a 10-7 advantage into the sixth.
Thomas More had scored at least one run in each of the first five innings off Bethany starter Zach Grayson (McKeesport, Pa./South Allegheny), but the junior right-hander saved his best for last, getting a strike out and fly out to left to strand a runner at second and keep the Green and White lead at three runs. That margin would grow by one in the sixth when Kubis smashed a double to the left-center gap to bring in Fudala and make it 11-7.
The RBI double took away the save opportunity for Kubis, but he still came in to finish out the game and retired the Saints with only one man reaching on a hit by pitch. The winner pitcher was Grayson, who battled through six innings and allowed seven runs, four earned, on seven hits and struck out three to raise his record to 4-1.
With the bats, Leasure was 2-for-2 with four RBIs and three runs scored, while Kubis was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and runs scored. Also managing two hits was Evans and junior CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.).
A pair of Leasure solo home runs in the first game couldn’t prevent the Saints from pulling away for a 12-6 win. Leasure also had an RBI single in the second inning to keep BC close at 2-1, but Thomas More ripped off the next 10 runs to build a 12-1 cushion. Bethany did cut into the final margin with the two solo jacks from Leasure, as well as an RBI single from freshman catcher David Pivik (Pittsburgh, Pa./Plum) and a two-run single by sophomore DH Anthony Packer (River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley Regional).
Freshman Zach Kozlowski (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) started and took the loss for Bethany. Leasure was 3-for-3 in the opener and finished 5-for-5 on the day with four homers, seven RBIs and five runs scored.