Cougars Open MCC Tournament with 4-1 Win
over St. Francis
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
UPLAND, Ind. (5-2-2012) - The Mount Vernon
Nazarene University baseball team got a
strong pitching performance from senior
right-hander Kyle Barr and some timely
hitting as the No. 3 seed Cougars knocked
off No. 2 seed University of St. Francis
(Ind.) 4-1 in the opening game for both
teams at the Mid-Central College Conference
Tournament at Taylor (Ind.) University on
The first three
innings of the game flew by uneventfully as
Barr (8-2) and St. Francis lefty Chris
Howell (8-4) allowed just one hit each as
the game remained scoreless.
with two outs in the top of the fourth
inning, sophomore first baseman Seth Eller
hit a two-out double to right center and
sophomore third baseman Jeff Stone
(left) followed with a
two-run homer to rightfield to put MVNU in
front 2-0. The home run was Stone's second
of the year. After freshman outfielder Jake
Dickerson reached on an error and moved to
third base on a single by junior shortstop
Jordan Doherty, Dickerson made it 3-0 when
he scampered home when Howell made an errant
pickoff throw to first base to try to catch
Doherty off the bag.
(33-23), which split the four-game series
with the Cougars during the regular season,
appeared ready to do some scoring damage of
their own in the bottom of the fourth inning
when they loaded the bases with only one
out. However, Barr struck out the next two
batters to get out of the inning.
score remained that way until the top of the
sixth inning when MVNU tacked on an
insurance run to go in front 4-0. With one
out, Eller reached on an error and moved to
second on a balk. One out later, Dickerson
lined an RBI double down the leftfield line
to drive him in.
St. Francis got on
the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth
inning when Barr made one pitch he would
probably like to have back as Derek
Coverstone lined a one-out solo homer to
leftfield to close the gap to 4-1.
After retiring St. Francis in order in the
bottom of the seventh and eighth innings,
Barr allowed a leadoff single to Tyler
Gregory in the bottom of the ninth inning.
However, a 6-4-3 double play bailed him out
of the jam and after allowing a pinch hit
single to Clay Maas he retired Blayke
Kaufman on a line out to Doherty at
shortstop to end the game.
like we flew through the first three
innings," said MVNU coach Keith Veale.
"Then, sort of innocently, Seth found the
right center gap for a double and Jeff put a
good swing on a ball and it got out in a
hurry. Jeff struggled against the lefty all
day, but that one swing was a game-changer.
Jake and Jordan followed with solid base
hits, and an errant pickoff attempt got us
the third run of the inning."
(right) tossed his
10th complete game in 12 starts as he
scattered eight hits, two walks, and one run
over nine innings with nine strikeouts. In
16 innings against St. Francis this year, he
has now struck out 19 batters and allowed
just one run, 14 hits, and three walks. Barr
also moved into a tie for fifth place in
school history with career win No. 27 to
equal the total of former MVNU standout Mark
Coulter from 1999-2002). He took over fifth
place in career innings pitch (283.2) and
increased his career strikeout total to 283,
which ranks third in school history.
"Kyle worked out of a big jam in the bottom
of the fourth with two huge strikeouts,"
said Veale. "He really shut that inning off
by himself. His ability to get the strikeout
in critical spots in a game sets him apart
in my mind."
"As great pitchers do,
he smelled victory near the end," Veale
continued. "He got a nice double play by our
middle infield in the ninth, and that
squelched the final threat. His pitch count
was getting up there until he got a quick
five-pitch inning in the seventh. That
inning probably allowed him to finish the
complete game. I really thought both
pitchers threw extremely well with a strong
wind blowing out all day."
took the hard-luck loss for St. Francis as
he allowed just seven hits, one walk, and
four runs (two earned) over nine innings
while striking out 12 batters.
Offensively, Eller and Doherty each
collected two hits to pace MVNU with Eller
scoring twice. Coverstone and Gregory
registered two hits apiece for St. Francis.
In Wednesday's other games, No. 4 seed
Spring Arbor (Mich.) University downed No. 5
seed Huntington (Ind.) 10-2 in the first
game of the day, while top-seeded Taylor
held off Spring Arbor 14-6 in the final game
of the day.
On Thursday, St. Francis
and Huntington will square off in a loser's
bracket game at 10 a.m. with the loser being
eliminated. Then, MVNU and Taylor will meet
up in the winner's bracket game at 1 p.m.
followed by Spring Arbor versus the St.
Francis/Huntington winner in another loser's
bracket game at 4 p.m.