Rally Falls Short as Baseball Drops Two at Asbury

Rally Falls Short as Baseball Drops Two at Asbury

Trailing 2-0 in the opener, the Mountaineers pulled within one in the top of the fifth on an RBI single from Aaron Effoe.  But the Asbury Eagles responded with three runs off Berea reliever Tyler Pope in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-1 lead.  Ryan Akins tripled to lead off the 6th inning for the Blue Crew and scored on a Logan Hunt RBI ground out but that was as close as the Mountaineers could get.  Berea starter Brandon Gonzalez took the loss despite allowing just two earned runs in four innings of work.

Game two featured a pitcher's duel between Asbury's Caleb Rankin and Mountaineer starter Patrick Elzinga, with both teams being held scoreless through the first 5 ½ innings of play, before the Eagles managed to break through in the home half of the sixth.  After getting the first out of the inning, Elzinga surrendered a single to right and a walk before being lifted.  Reliever Nolan Sanders emerged from the bullpen for the Mountaineers and allowed an infield single to load the bases.  Asbury attempted a squeeze bunt, but Berea cut down the lead runner at the plate to prevent the run.  With the bases still loaded and two outs, Eagles pinch-hitter Bryce Anderson singled to right center, driving home two and giving Asbury the 2-0 lead.  Asbury would tack on an unearned run for a 3-0 advantage.

The young Mountaineer squad refused to give up and, after pinch-hitter Tyler Plageman lined out hard in the hole at short, Effoe followed with a single through the hole.  Ryan Blevens popped to first base before Akins launched a mammoth two-run home run to left, pulling the Blue Crew with a run, 3-2.  However, Logan Hunt's drive to deep right-center was caught and the Mountaineer rally was stifled. 

Despite suffering the hard-luck loss, Elzinga pitched brilliantly, scattering four hits over 5.1 innings of work, and striking out eight.

Berea (4-11) returns to action this Sunday when they travel to Florence, KY, to face the University of Cincinnati-Clermont in doubleheader action.  First pitch for the game is set for 1:00 PM at UC Health Stadium, home of the Florence Freedom.

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