WISE, Va. - UVa-Wise overcame a six run deficit in game one while Ryan Crosby tied the single season strikeout record in game two as the Cavaliers swept visiting University of Pikeville in a baseball double header Saturday. The double header victory completed a three game sweep of Pikeville, UVa-Wise defeated the Bears 4-1 on Friday.
After five innings of play in game one, it appeared as if the Bears were going to knot the series at one game each as the visitors built a 6-0 lead on the Cavs. Despite the early deficit, the UVa-Wise offense came to life in the later innings. The Cavs scored two runs in the sixth, three in the seventh, and two in the eighth inning to tie the game at 7-7, following a Pikeville run in the top half of the eighth. In the ninth, senior Chris Smith retired Pikeville in order to set the stage for the comeback completion. Mason Mays and C.J. McAndrews led off the frame with back to back base hits to put two on with nobody out. One batter later, UVa-Wise was on the cusp of winning the game as Danny Bates sacrifice bunt led to an error by Pikeville. However, the Bears defense recovered and gunned pinch runner Matt Murphy down at the plate for the first out of the inning. Undeterred, Chaz Hall stepped to the plate and promptly delivered an RBI single scoring McAndrews and completing the comeback as the Cavs won 8-7.
In the game, UVa-Wise pounded out 17 hits; in total, seven Cavs collected at least two hits in the game, including the first six hitters in the lineup. Brett Hylton led the hit parade with three hits while Brian King cashed in three RBIs. Hylton, Steven Allen, and Tommy Meier all scored two runs each in the series clinching victory.
The day’s final game belonged to senior right handed pitcher Ryan Crosby. Crosby entered the game eight strikeouts away from tying the single season strikeout record at UVa-Wise. Crosby went to work early on the record by recording three of the first six outs by strikeout. Following an unearned run in the third inning by Pikeville, UVa-Wise responded with a run of its own in the home half of the frame as the Cavs took advantage of two errors to tie the game at 1-1. One half inning later, Crosby retired Pikeville on three pitches and the UVa-Wise bats responded with a big inning. In the inning, McAndrews, Danny Bates, Hall, and Allen would all collect an RBI in the inning to make the score 5-1 in favor of the Cavs heading to the fifth inning.
From that point, Crosby closed the door; the senior retired the side in order in the fifth, with one strikeout while Hylton blasted his sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 6-1 game. In the visiting sixth, Crosby worked around a base hit and recorded another strikeout to draw within one of tying the mark. After a scoreless half inning by UVa-Wise, Crosby wasted no time in tying the record as he fanned Nate Goodwin leading off the inning. Following the strikeout, Crosby allowed a base hit only to end the game one batter later when the Cavaliers turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Crosby’s strikeout of Goodwin in the seventh inning was his 89th of the year tying a mark set by Nelson Metheny in 1993. With the win, he improves to 7-3 on the season while lowering his ERA to 2.04. Prior to Saturday’s double header, UVa-Wise honored five senior baseball players for their contributions to the team both on and off the field.
With the three game sweep of Pikeville, the Cavs improve to 20-22 on the season and 6-10 in Mid-South action. UVa-Wise will play its final home game of the 2012 season on Tuesday when Milligan College visits Stallard Field for a 5:00 p.m. double header.