BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - The Union baseball team managed to split an Appalachian Athletic Conference doubleheader Friday with Montreat (N.C.) as both teams used seventh-inning heroics to collect their wins.
The Cavaliers rallied for four runs in the seventh to win the opener 4-2, while the Bulldogs got a bases-loaded, RBI single from Gabby Juarbe (San Juan, P.R.) in the bottom of the seventh to win game two 3-2.
Union is now 21-17 overall and 8-6 in the AAC, while Montreat is 13-25 overall and 4-10 in conference play.
The teams will complete the series with a nine-inning contest
Saturday at 1 p.m.
Union let a number of opportunities go by the wayside as Montreat rallied late to pull out the 4-2 decision.
The Bulldogs garnered only five hits but were the beneficiaries of seven bases on balls and three hit batters. Yet, Union struggled moving the runners around the base paths and across home plate, scoring just two runs. The Bulldogs left three men on base twice and two runners two other times.
In the third, Union drew first blood when Joe Engle (Sidney, Ohio) singled and the advanced to third on a throwing error. Two batters later, Nelson Price (Burkesville, Ky.) singled to right-center field to make it 1-0 Union.
It stayed a 1-0 contest until the sixth when Union loaded the bases with one out. Brandon Hedrick (Corbin, Ky.) lofted a sac fly to right to push the Bulldog lead to 2-0.
However, everything unraveled in the seventh as Montreat led off with
back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Two batters later, Wes Honeycutt lined a two-run double to center to tie the game at 2-2. Tyler Hopkins followed with two-run single to right to make it 4-2.
Union got the lead batter on with a single up the middle, but a double play and a groundout squelched any comeback thoughts the Bulldogs might have had as the Cavaliers escaped with the two-run decision.
Taylor Eikenberry (Rock Falls, Ill.) pitched well despite getting the no decision. He went six-plus innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four hits with a season-best 10 strikeouts. Tim DeVito (Glendale, Ariz.) picked up the loss to fall to 1-3.
Bradley Carpenter got the win for Montreat to improve 3-1.
The Bulldogs took advantage of three Cavalier errors to help them win the day's finale 3-2.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the third, back-to-back miscues allowed Union to rally for a 2-1 advantage. With DeVito on third and one out, Engle reached on an error to tie the score. Hedrick also reached on an error, which allowed Engle to easily score from second for a one-run, Union advantage.
Not backing down, Montreat fought back and eventually tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth thanks to a Cody Reid run-scoring single.
Game headed to the bottom of the seventh knotted up when Hedrick
led off with a double to left. Donnie Popham (Louisville, Ky.) then reached on an error to put runners on the corners. An intentional walk loaded the bases for Juarbe, who lined a single through the right-side of the infield to drove in the winning run.
Despite getting the win, Union still missed several opportunities as it left 13 men on base. Popham led the team at plate in going 2-for-4.
Chris Fern (Zephyrhills, Fla.) picked up the win, going the distance and allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks with five strikeouts. He is now 3-1 on the season.
Martina Sementelli took the loss for Montreat, lasting one inning in dropping to 0-2.