March 16 - FORT PIERCE, Fla. – For the third time in three games, the sixth inning proved to the Bethany baseball team’s undoing, as Geneva scored six times that frame to blow open a one-run game and pull away for a 13-3 victory over BC in the finale of their three-game series in Florida.
The Golden Tornadoes (9-2) opened the scoring with a run in the first and two more in the second. The Bison (0-3) got on the board for the first time in the bottom of the third when freshman SS Levi Bender (Buckhannon, W.Va./Buckhannon-Upshur) singled, moved to second on a sacrifice and later scored on a fielder’s choice by sophomore 1B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands).
A defensive lapse cost BC in the fourth, as the leadoff batter for Geneva reached on an error and later came around to score on a double by RF Justin McGurgan, who went 3-for-5 and drove in three on the day. The unearned run pushed the GTs lead to 4-1.
A fielding error by Geneva opened the door for the Bison to get back into the game in the fifth. A one-out error on a ball hit by Bender started the rally. Later with the bases loaded, junior RF Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central) was hit by a pitch to force in one run and freshman DH Bryce Patterson (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) followed with an infield single to score another and bring Bethany within a run at 4-3 heading into the sixth.
When the teams played a twinbill Saturday, Geneva pushed seven runs across en route to a 14-1 victory. In the nightcap, the Golden Tornadoes scored an insurance run that proved to the difference in a 6-5 triumph. Monday’s contest would see similar results for Geneva, as they sent 10 men to the plate in a six-run outburst to rip the game open. The GTs used a pair of bunt singles to help start the surge, then later used a squeeze to plate the fifth run of the inning.
Following that inning, any chance for a Bethany comeback was thwarted by double plays, as twin killings in the seventh and ninth innings ended threats before they could start.
The Bison finished with eight hits in the match-up, including two each for Patterson and Bender, who also scored twice. Sophomore CF Tyler Dillinger (MCKeesport, Pa.) continued his solid start to the year by reaching base three times, including two walks and a single.
Taking the loss on the hill was sophomore Mike Muklewicz (Bridgeport, Ohio), who threw four innings and gave up four runs, three earned, in his first collegiate start.
Bethany is off on Tuesday and will return to the diamond on Wednesday with a 12:30 p.m. match-up against Mount St. Vincent, an ECAC qualifier from a year ago.