Cougars Split MCC Twinbill with No. 25
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
1 Boxscore |
MASON, Ohio (3-10-2012) - The Mount Vernon
Nazarene University baseball team split the
second doubleheader of the program's first
Mid-Central College Conference four-game
series as the Cougars fell 3-0 and then
bounced back for a 5-3 victory in the
nightcap in action against NAIA No. 25
Taylor (Ind.) University on Saturday
afternoon at Legacy Field.
first game, MVNU (5-3, 1-3 MCC) was only
able to muster a one-out first-inning walk
to junior shortstop Jordan Doherty, a
leadoff single by freshman outfielder Robert
Kane in the top of the fifth inning, and a
one-out single by sophomore first baseman
Seth Eller in the top of the seventh inning.
Senior third baseman Josh Roberts also
reached on an error with one out in the top
of the fourth inning.
Trojans (5-6, 3-1 MCC) tacked on single runs
in the bottom of the second inning, the
bottom of the third inning, and the bottom
of the fourth inning as Taylor built a 3-0
lead that would stand up.
lefty Justin Brown (1-1) took the loss for
the Cougars as he scattered seven hits,
three walks, and three runs (two earned)
over six innings with two strikeouts.
Ryan Baker (1-0) tossed a two-hit
shutout with seven strikeouts and one walk
over seven innings to notch the victory on
the mound for the Trojans. Taylor Luna paced
the Taylor offense by going 2-for-2.
"Today's games were very competitive from
both teams," said MVNU coach Keith Veale.
"We are trying to establish some starting
pitching depth, and heading into today we
still have not established our pitching
rotation. This was Justin's second start of
the season and I thought he threw very well.
He only gave up a single earned run in the
second and third innings. We broke down
defensively to allow an unearned run in the
fourth inning, but that was it."
"Offensively, we were shut down by their
starting pitcher," Veale added. We could not
generate any offensive threats, and we were
held in check the whole game. It was the
best pitched game we have had against us so
far this season. However, Justin kept us in
it and that was encouraging."
Trojans took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the
first inning of the second game as the
two-time defending MCC regular-season
champions looked to try to sweep the
four-game series. Ian Nielsen drove in the
unearned run with a sacrifice fly.
The Cougars knotted the score at 1-1 in the
top of the second inning when freshman
outfielder Jake Dickerson tripled to right
center and then came in to score on an RBI
single by sophomore outfielder Robert Kane.
MVNU took a 2-1 lead in the top of the
third inning when freshman catcher Kevin
Chaffin singled to center. Freshman
outfielder Andrew Fila came in to run for
him and moved to second on a ground out by
sophomore outfielder Sean Flemming. After
Fila stole third, junior shortstop Jordan
Doherty drove him in with an RBI ground out
to second base.
The score remained
that way until the top of the seventh inning
when Dickerson and Kane reached with
back-to-back one-out singles and then moved
up to third base and second base
respectively on a wild pitch. Freshman
second baseman Sterling Harpst drove in both
runners with a bunt single to give the
Cougars a 4-1 lead, and Harpst later came
around to score on an RBI single by Doherty
for a 5-1 advantage.
MVNU would end
up needing all of those runs as Taylor did
not go down without a fight as the Trojans
scored two times in the bottom of the
seventh inning to pull within 5-3. However,
with the bases loaded and the potential
game-winning run at first base, Nielsen
struck out to end the game and give the
Cougars their first MCC victory.
right-hander Mike Kochheiser (1-0)
(right) worked 6.2 innings
and allowed just four hits, two walks, and
three runs (two earned) with six strikeouts
as he made just his second career start.
Senior right-hander Jeff Estep came on to
record the final out and allowed one hit and
one hit batsmen before registering the
game-ending strikeout to notch his second
save of the year.
Derek Kinzer (0-1)
took the loss for Taylor as he allowed eight
hits, one walk, and five runs with three
strikeouts. Drew Flatford recorded the final
two outs and gave up a hit while striking
out one batter.
Dickerson, Kane, and
Chaffin each collected two hits to pace
MVNU, while Michael Nassar and Rhett
Goodmiller each had two of the Trojans' five
hits in the game.
"We started Mike
due to a hamstring injury to (junior) Darren
(Athey)," said Veale. "He really responded
and gave us a big lift to finish the series.
I am so pleased with the way he has
progressed on the mound. This was a big
opportunity for him to get the start in a
conference game and he handled himself
exceptionally well. He threw five scoreless
innings without giving up a hit in innings
two through six."
"We were clinging
to a one-run lead heading into the seventh
when we finally strung some things
together," Veale continued. "Looking back,
we needed everything we produced. Sterling
laid down a perfect suicide squeeze that we
were able to score two runs with on a ball
that only traveled 20 feet. Jordan tacked on
another run with an RBI single and that was
also an important run. I like what Jeff did
at the end of the game and that is another
positive for the day."
"We were very
fortunate to get the final game of the
series," said Veale as the Cougars finished
1-3 in the four-game set with Taylor. "It
was a boost for our spirits and confidence.
We were out-played much of the series, and I
know we are disappointed to go 1-3. However,
there were some encouraging things. We were
very competitive in all four games. If we
can eliminate some of our own mistakes, we
can turn future series results around in our
favor. We were facing the preseason No. 1
team in the conference that starts five
position seniors. They play with a lot of
confidence and we are just not there yet. We
just need a little more consistency and
confidence to compete with the upper echelon
in this league. If we can get pitching
performances like we did this weekend and we
can do it on a consistent basis, I think we
can improve our results and compete at the
upper end of the conference. That being
said, there is a lot to improve on and it
won't be easy."
The Cougars will now
shift their focus to the team's annual
spring trip to Florida. MVNU will leave on
Wednesday for 10 games in a seven-day span
in the Lakeland area. The Cougars will begin
the trip with a doubleheader against Mount
Marty (S.D.) College on Thursday at 1 p.m.
at the Walter Fuller Complex in St.