PIKEVILLE, Ky. – A split in Saturday’s doubleheader with Shawnee State gave the University of Pikeville a win in the weekend series but kept it from take the lead for the final playoff spot in the Mid-South Conference tournament.
UPike improved to 17-22-1 overall and went to 6-12 in the league after the 8-2 win and the 12-4 loss.
With three games left – next weekend at Georgetown – the Bears are tied with U.Va.-Wise for the eighth and final slot in the conference tournament. The Cavaliers will host Rio Grande next weekend to close out the regular season.
Pikeville returns to action on Monday when it visits Alice Lloyd.
UPike 8, SSU 2: Third baseman Eric Manning drove in four runs and pitcher Corey Gilligan was brilliant in a route-going performance as Pikeville won over Shawnee for the second straight day.
UPike got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second when designated hitter Corey Adams laced a single to left. After stealing second he scored on a single by shortstop Chaz Contreras, using a backdoor slide to elude the tag at the plate.
The Bears got some breathing room in the bottom of the fifth when Manning delivered a bases loaded double down the left field line to clear the bases and make it 4-0. UPike had loaded the bases when Conteras and Bradley sandwiched walks around a bunt single by centerfielder Adam Overbay.
After getting out of a first-and-third jam in the top of the seventh, the Bears put it away with four in the bottom of the frame. Again it was a big hit by Manning, who again doubled down the left-field line to score left fielder Alec Shull.
After a pitching change, a wild pitch delivered Bradley, and when the catcher’s throw to the plate sailed wide, Manning scored to make it 7-0. A fielder’s choice with the bases loaded plated what would prove to be the game’s final run.
SSU reached the scoreboard for the first time in the ninth, getting singles to start the inning from Henderson and Bickmeyer to start the inning. Two outs later, both scored on infield errors.
Junior Corey Gilligan got a win for the second straight day, going the distance less than 24 hours after pitching the 10th inning in Friday’s 3-2 win. He struck out six while allowing eight hits and two unearned runs.
SSU 12, UPike 4: After scoring only four unearned runs in the first two games, Shawnee State scored in each of the first five innings and had multiple runs in four of them to salvage a win in the series.
SSU scored one in the first before taking control with three in the second and four in the third. Two more in the fourth made it 10-0, and after UPike scored three in the bottom of the fourth, SSU responded with two more in the fifth to take a 12-3 lead.
Bradley led the Pikeville offense with three singles while Overbay, playing his final game at LeMaster Field, had two hits, including a double, and scored a run.
For Shawnee State, Ryan Queener, Todd Queener and Aaron Suydam had three hits each as the team pounded out 17. Suydam had two RBIs and scored twice, Todd Queener scored twice and drove one in and Ryan Queener scored once.
Second baseman Jordan Maier doubled, drove in three and scored one.
Zak Esposito went all seven innings, striking out six.
Pikeville used starter Zach Sutherland and four relievers in the loss.