The Shawnee State baseball program split the final two games of its series with Campbellsville on Friday afternoon, defeating the Tigers 4-3 in the first contest but falling 1-0 in the second affair.
The Bears fell behind early as Campbellsville scored a run in the first inning and tacked on two more in the second to take a 3-0 lead. However, the Bears would respond in the top of the third to tie the score, as Brady Knittel doubled to right with the bases loaded, scoring all three runners to tie the game.
Neither team scored until Shawnee State broke through in the top of the seventh. Grant VanLiew singled to center field to score Mike Watson, giving SSU a 4-3 lead that they’d hold.
Joe Spano was credited with the win, throwing two perfect innings to earn his first victory of the season. Jared Welander was credited with a hard-luck loss after allowing the winning run. Brady Knittel held the lead late to earn a save.
Game two was scoreless through six and a half innings as Tyler Straley and Indalecio Romo proceeded to face off in a pitching duel. However, the Tigers ultimately had the final say-so in the contest as Kirby Broadbent would drive in the winning run with a single with a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Straley was hit with a tough loss of after allowing just one run in six-and-a-third innings of action. Malik Evans got the win after pitching two innings of scoreless relief.
As far as the overall production is concerned, Chase Thurber has helped head the charge for Shawnee State on the hitting side of things. Thurber’s .289 batting average, 22 hits, seven doubles, .360 on-base percentage and .781 OPS (on-base plus slugging) are all team-highs. The sophomore catcher from Andover, Ohio has also added a home run and 11 RBI to the table.
Brandon Reaman, who is batting .250 on the year for the Bears at the plate, leads the team with three home runs, 15 RBI, nine walks and a .432 slugging percentage. The senior outfielder from Dayton, Ohio is also tied with Thurber with his 22 hits and seven doubles on the season, and is the only Shawnee State play to have participated and started in all 28 games over the course of the year.
On the pitching staff, Straley has been the workhorse for the Bears this season, having held fellow opponents to just six earned runs in 28.2 innings of playing time en route to a 1.88 ERA. The junior from Uniontown, Ohio has struck out 16 batters while walking only three by comparison, and hasn’t allowed a home run yet this year.
Spano, along with Knittel and Derek Moore, have also been strongholds on the Shawnee State pitching staff. The former holds a 3.92 ERA and has held opponents to a .194 batting average, while the latter pair — graduates of West and Wheelersburg, respectively — have accumulated over 66 innings of work together and have struck out 59 batters while walking only 18 by comparison.
With the split, Shawnee State moves to 7-21 on the season and is 2-4 in the Mid-South Conference. Campbellsville is now 18-11 and 6-2 in the league.
Shawnee State returns to action on Tuesday, March 28th when they welcome Milligan College to Branch Rickey Park. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.
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