May 1 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The four seniors who were playing in their final home game Thursday afternoon for the Bethany College baseball team combined for 10 hits, seven RBIs and seven runs scored to lead the Bison to a 17-2 victory over Franciscan (Ohio) University.
The Bison (10-26-1) and their seniors jumped on the Barons (6-19-1) from the outset. Senior 2B Anthony Talotta (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) singled with one out and one batter later, sophomore Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) crushed his eighth home run of the season to left for a 2-0 BC advantage.
Leasure’s jack moved him within one of tying Bethany’s single-season record of nine set by J.B. Burge in 1996. It was also the 12th of the sophomore slugger’s career, which moved him into sole possession of third place on the all-time home run chart at the school.
Bethany tacked on a run in the second on an RBI groundout by senior LF R.J. Faldowski (Harrisville, Ohio/Buckeye Local). The lead grew by two more runs in the third when a fly ball by Leasure was dropped with one out, allowing Talotta to score from third. One batter later, senior 1B Mike Klamerus (Brownsville, Pa.) hit an infield single to bring in Leasure and make it a 5-0 margin.
In the fourth, the Bison erupted for six runs to balloon their cushion to 11-0. The inning started when senior SS J.J. Eberhart (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) singled and Faldowski followed with his first career home run, a two-run shot to left. Freshman CF Tyler Dillinger (White Oak, Pa./McKeesport) and junior 3B Chris Jeffers (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) had RBI singles during the inning and Klamerus knocked in his second run of the game with a ground out. The other tally was added on a passed ball.
Freshman pitcher Brett Mazine (Monaca, Pa.) made good use of the run support, as he blanked the Barons on three hits through six innings. Franciscan did score their first run in the seventh on a solo home run by Steve Schumaker, but Mazine would earn the win in this game to improve to 3-5 on the year. He pitched seven innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out four and walking two.
Bethany responded to the Barons’ run by pushing four more across in the seventh and two more in the eighth to cap their scoring. In the seventh, Leasure’s huge day concluded with a two-run single and freshman catcher Erik Stumpf (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) followed by belting a two-run home run to right, his second of the campaign.
The day had a fitting end for the Bison offense, which collected 16 hits in the contest, as two seniors drove home the final two runs. A fielder’s choice by Faldowski provided his fourth RBI of the day, while Talotta smacked a run-producing single for his final hit of the game.
Although Leasure finished the day 2-for-3 with five RBIs and three runs scored, it was the seniors who stole the show. Talotta posted his second career four-hit game by going 4-for-5 and scoring a career-high four runs while driving in one. Faldowski, who entered the day with four career RBIs, doubled that total with four on Thursday. He went 2-for-5 in the game and crossed the plate twice.
Also highlighting the seniors’ efforts was Eberhart, who had two assists in the game to swell his school-record total to 418. At the plate, he was 3-for-5 and scored once. Klamerus’ final home game included one hit, one walk and two RBIs.
Bethany will conclude their 2008 season Saturday with a PAC doubleheader at Thiel beginning at 12 p.m.