May 5 - STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – Franciscan (Ohio) University, playing in its final game in program history, scored five unearned runs, including each of its last two to rally for an 8-7 victory over the Bethany College baseball team Thursday night at Vaccaro Field in Steubenville.
The miscues started piling up right away for the Bison (11-20), who committed two errors and had one passed ball in the first inning to help the Barons score twice. Bethany matched the home team with two runs in the second on a sacrifice fly by sophomore DH Alex Evans (Washington, Pa.) and an RBI single by senior CF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.). The score went to 3-3 when the Barons scored once in the second, but an RBI single by junior catcher T.J. Zarewicz (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) evened the count in the third.
Both teams plated a pair of runs in the fourth. Bethany went in front 5-3 on an RBI double by senior 2B Eric Fudala (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) and one run came in on a ground out by Zarewicz. The Bison lead didn’t make it through the bottom of the fourth, as a hit batter and three errors allowed Franciscan to score a pair without the benefit of a hit and the game was tied again at 5-5.
In the sixth, BC went back on top. Junior 1B Nate Tieman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) beat out a bunt hit and Dillinger doubled , which was followed by a two-run single from Fudala to give the Green and White a 7-5 advantage. Franciscan clipped one run off the deficit when a two-out walk, wild pitch and single in the sixth made it 7-6.
The Bison lead slipped away over the final innings, as one error in the seventh led to the Barons scoring the tying run and another miscue, Bethany’s ninth of the game, led to the go-ahead unearned run in the eighth. In their final at-bat in the ninth, sophomore PH Matt Paonessa (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) and senior LF Mike Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) hit singles, but a strike out ended the game and Franciscan, who announced earlier this year the school was dropping baseball as a varsity sport, pulled out the win in its final game.
Bethany finished the night out-hitting the Barons by a 12-9 margin. Fudala had a huge game, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs, while Dillinger had three hits, two runs and one RBI and Tieman was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
On the mound, senior Josh Lawrence (Mather, Pa./Jefferson-Morgan) started and went five innings, allowing five runs, two earned, on five hits and striking out four. Freshman Jacob Fischer (Huntington, W.Va.) tossed 1 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, one earned, and also punched out four. The loss went to sophomore Ryan Styche (Buena Vista, Pa./Elizabeth Forward), who pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up one unearned run.
The final week of the regular season continues for the Bison Friday, as they open their last conference series of the year with a single game at Thiel, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.