HARROGATE, Tenn. – Using the strength of 13 hits, Anderson University baseball earned a key South Atlantic Conference victory over league-leading Lincoln Memorial, 13-5, Friday afternoon at LMU’s Hennon Field.
With the win, the Trojans improve to an even 12-12 in SAC play, while the Railsplitters drop to 25-13-1 overall and 15-6 within the league. AU has now won six of its last eight contests and increased its SAC winning streak to three straight.
The Trojan lineup was paced by the bottom-half of their lineup as senior catcher Jonathan Zalud, who was slotted seventh, and designated hitter LJ Newman, who was eighth, were a combined 7-for-9 with a home run, two doubles, two RBI and six runs scored. Zalud finished the contest a perfect 4-for-4 with his seventh and eighth doubles of the year, while Newman blasted his second home run of the season in the sixth inning, closing the game 3-for-5.
Also posting multi-hit games was sophomore third baseman Garrett Bernardo with a double and two runs scored, while senior left fielder Nathan Galliford connected on his conference-leading 13th home run of the season in the top-half of the fifth inning. For the game, Galliford went 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.
Sophomores Kyle Bailey and Steven Cooper and junior Brett Cash also added doubles, while Bailey and Cooper drove home two runs apiece. Senior centerfielder Josh Hickman scored twice after drawing two walks.
On the mound, junior right-hander JT Trujillo went five innings and earned his fourth victory of the season allowing five hits and one earned run with four strikeouts. Sophomore reliever Mitchell Cooksey came into the game in the sixth and gave up a season-high six hits, but limited LMU to just three runs en route to his second save of the season.
The Trojans had at least one base runner in all but one inning for the ballgame, as Anderson has now totaled double figure hits in seven of its last nine contests. After the Railsplitters took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, the visitors responded with two runs in the second inning as AU took advantage of a LMU miscue, which plated two runs.
With LMU evening the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the frame, Galliford’s fifth inning homer handed Anderson a 4-2 advantage. Galliford, who is in a battle with Lincoln Memorial’s Josh Coker for the conference’s home run lead, grabbed the outright advantage and became the first player in the SAC this season to reach 13 round-trippers on the year.
Newman matched Galliford’s home runs with one of his own in the sixth over the left-center wall, giving Anderson a 6-2 lead. In Newman’s last three games, the designated hitter is batting .636 with three RBI and four runs scored.
LMU grabbed a run back in the sixth before the Black and Gold’s marathon eighth inning that saw six runs on five hits. Bailey and Cooper headlined the inning with a pair of two-run doubles, while Galliford notched an RBI single to propel AU to a 12-3 lead. After AU added another run in the ninth, LMU’s Kelvin Brito sent a Cooksey pitch over the left-center field wall to cut into the Anderson advantage, setting the final score.
Anderson seeks the conference series win on Saturday when the three-game series wraps up with a doubleheader at Hennon Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.