ANDERSON, S.C. – Three ninth inning runs by visiting Lenoir-Rhyne proved costly, as Anderson University baseball dropped the opening game of a three-game series, 10-8, to South Atlantic Conference opponent Lenoir-Rhyne Friday evening at Anderson Memorial Stadium.
The setback snaps a three-game winning streak and drops the Trojans to 14-24 for the season and 9-12 in conference play, while the Bears jump to 11-26 overall and 7-16 for the league. With the win, L-R has won its last two contests and three of its last four.
Two Trojans recorded multi-hit games, as senior left fielder Nathan Galliford and junior shortstop Brett Cash each tallied a pair of singles, while combining for three runs scored. Hitting his eighth home run of the year, sophomore first baseman Steven Cooper increased his hitting streak to 10 games, but snapped a consecutive streak of five straight games with multi-hits.
Senior right fielder Paul Como and senior third baseman David Jones each notched a double, as Como took the team lead away from Cooper in the doubles category with 14 on the campaign. Catcher Jonathan Zalud drove in two runs with a single in the seventh inning, leading the team in RBI for the evening and increasing his hit streak to five games.
Lenoir-Rhyne used 16 hits for 10 runs and took advantage on two AU errors to produce its first double figure scoring output of the season. L-R’s first baseman David Newcomer recorded four hits for the game, while driving in three runs and scoring twice. Right fielder Ivan Vieitez added a solo home run in the ninth inning to even the score at 8-8, to cap off his 3-for-5 performance with three runs and two RBI.
Despite tossing three shutout innings in relief, sophomore right-hander Mitchell Cooksey was tagged with his second loss of the season, allowing two ninth-inning runs, the most runs he has given up this year.
After plating three runs in the bottom of the second inning, highlighted by Como and Jones’ doubles, L-R responded with three runs in the top of the third to even the score again. AU answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame on the strength of Cooper’s homer over the right-field wall. The home run was Cooper’s third home run in as many games. Currently, Cooper’s eight home runs have come in AU’s last 15 contests.
Despite earning the lead once more, the Bears crossed two runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 7-5 advantage. After coming up empty in the sixth inning, the Trojans regained the lead back in the seventh on the two-RBI single by Zalud and an RBI single from second baseman Kyle Bailey for his lone hit on the evening.
With the one-run advantage heading into the ninth, Lenoir-Rhyne tallied five hits for three runs to eventually seal the victory. AU came up short in the ninth, failing to find a base runner going down in order to close the game.
Anderson looks to get back on the winning path and claim the three-game set on Saturday when the Trojans and the Bears square off again at Anderson Memorial Stadium in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.