Steve Janik, Assistant Sports Information Director
LATROBE, Pa. (April 9) - The Bethany College baseball team rallied to defeat Saint Vincent 10-8 to win the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) series on Sunday.
Trailing 8-2 after just the second inning, the Bison bullpen shut down SVC, not allowing a run over the final seven innings, while the Bethany bats came alive to steal a win from the host Bearcats.
With the win, Bethany improves to 10-12-1 overall and 5-6 in the league, while Saint Vincent moves to 9-11 on the year and 5-4 in the PAC.
As a team, the Bison clubbed 13 hits in the effort, including four doubles. Ryan Nickerson (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach) led the offensive charge, going 2-for-4 with three RBI followed by Alex Martin (Sound Beach, N.Y./Miller Place) who finished 2-for-5, while also driving in three runs. Neil Woods (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) and Zack Miller (West Mifflin, Pa./West Mifflin) also added a pair of hits and an RBI apiece in the win. Woods also notched his PAC leading fifth save on the season. Tyler Frazee (Markleysburg, Pa./Uniontown) also finished 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Freshman Matt Colton (Pittsburgh Pa./Upper St. Clair) earned his first collegiate win after he entered the game in the third inning, inheriting the 8-2 deficit and provided three strong innings, allowing just one hit.
The Bison put the pressure on the hosts early, scoring two runs in their first at-bat thanks to a two out, two-RBI double. Brandon Wagner (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) led the game off with a single followed by a John Lee (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) walk to put two runners on to start. The Bearcat starter got the next two hitters out before Frazee stepped up and clubbed his fourth double of the year to left, scoring both runners for the early 2-0 lead.
The Bearcats had a big answer in their first at-bat, using a grand slam to propel a seven run first frame. They added another run in their second at-bat, making the score 8-2.
To start off the third, John Lee and Woods hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning, with Lee scoring on the Woods knock. After a single by Jake Stemmerich (Greensburg, Pa./Greater Latrobe), the Bearcats made a pitching change with the score 8-3. The Bison had runners on the corners with no one out but SVC worked out of the jam.
After a silent fourth inning for both teams,, Bethany worked the bases loaded in the fifth after a single and two hit batsmen. A third hit batter in a row brought a run home and forced the Bearcat reliever from the game with the bases still loaded and just one out. After a fly out to left for the second out, Martin roped a single back up the middle allowing two runners to cross and bring the score to 8-6, Saint Vincent.
Still with two outs and now runners on first and second, Zack Miller hit a single through the right side. The runner at second was able to beat the throw from right and score, making it 8-7 and forcing the Bearcats to make their second pitching change of the inning but the new pitcher got out of the jam.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Colton had runners on first and second with two outs but got a fly out to right to end the threat and keep the deficit to one.
Then in the sixth inning, the Bison used two-out lightning and took advantage of a passed ball to move runners to second and third to setup Nickerson. With a full count, Nickerson poked a double to the right center gap allowing both runners to score, and give the Bison their first lead since the top of the first at 9-8. A pitching change for SVC got the third out to end the inning.
In Bethany's eighth at-bat, Stemmerich reached on an error to lead off the inning. He would eventually come around to score on a single from Martin to increase their lead to two with just one frame left on the day.
Isaac Wengert (Jonestown, Pa./Northern Lebanon) took the hill in the bootom half and got into some trouble after back-to-back two-out singles, but recorded a clutch strikeout on the SVC pinch hitter to shut the door on any rally chances.
Woods came on in the ninth inning to close it out, notching his fifth save of the year and clinching Bethany's second PAC series win of the year.
Next up, Bethany hosts Washington and Jefferson in a single nine inning game set for Tuesday, April 11. First pitch is slated for 4pm.