The baseball program at Shawnee State, behind strong outings on the hill from Kyle Wisniewski and Garrett Goodwin and consistent outings on both sides of the diamond, were able to split a nonconference doubleheader with Milligan (Tenn.) as the Bears recovered from a scant 3-2 defeat in the first contest with a 7-4 victory in the second affair on Saturday in Johnson City, Tenn.
Shawnee State, who outhit Milligan by a slight 15-14 margin over the two games, also committed less errors than the Buffaloes, committing four turnovers over the doubleheader compared to Milligan’s six.
A full recap of both games are below:
Game 1 — Milligan 3, Shawnee State 2
In Saturday’s opener, Shawnee State received a solid five-inning effort from Wisniewski and a home run from Noah Brock, but ultimately fell by a scant margin to Milligan in the opening contest of the day.
Both teams put their initial run on the board with two-out sacrifice flies, with George Duran’s two-out sacrifice fly scoring Noah Rezner and putting the Bears in a 1-1 tie with the Buffaloes after three innings of work.
A two-out triple by Chance Hall in the bottom of the fourth put Milligan up briefly by a 2-1 margin after four innings of play, but Shawnee State rallied right back, with Brock jumping all over a Brock Browning pitch on a 1-0 count and sending the baseball over the left field fence en route to tying the score at two apiece in the top half of the fifth frame.
Milligan’s Will Findley, however, had other ideas. Findley singled, advanced to second on a stolen base, then scored from third with two outs in the bottom half of the fifth frame on an infield throwing error to give the Buffaloes the lead.
Shawnee State was able to get back-to-back singles from Levi Jones and Howie Rodriguez to put runners on first and third with just one out in the top half of the sixth frame, but Rodriguez was caught trying to steal second base, and Brock flied out to right field to end SSU’s best chance to tie or take over the point as Milligan hung on for the 3-2 victory.
Wisniewski ultimately threw five innings of one-run baseball, with the ace pitcher striking out five batters and allowing just five hits on his line. Jacob Gleason pitched a spotless sixth inning in relief of the junior.
Rodriguez (2-for-3), Duran (2-for-2, RBI), Brock (1-for-3, HR, RBI), Jones (1-for-3), and Danny McGuire (1-for-3) led Shawnee State’s overall output in Game 1.
Game 2 — Shawnee State 7, Milligan 4
While the opener didn’t result in a positive outcome for SSU, the second affair proved to be a much more fruitful outing for the Bears, who brought in four of their seven runs in the fifth frame to take a lead that wouldn’t be relinquished.
A RBI sacrifice fly by Jones in the top half of the first, a leadoff double by Richard Polinsky and a RBI single by Chance Hall that scored Polinsky in the bottom half of the second, an RBI single by Ben Sellers following an infield error by Milligan in the top half of the third, and a triple by Hall that was followed by a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth allowed both teams to duke it out for control for well over half of the contest.
However, in the top of the fifth, Shawnee State’s offense changed the complexion of the contest.
The Bears, who batted around in the top half of the fifth inning, got a leadoff walk from Cooper Wohlgemuth to start the contest off, while a single by Sellers and a walk by Jacob Kline loaded the bases with one down in the frame.
Jones, the next batter up in the order, scored Wohlgemuth to give Shawnee State a 3-2 lead, but the Bears weren’t done adding to the lead as Rodriguez followed with a single to score Sellers while an error allowed McGuire to reach base and load the bags again following Rodriguez’s base knock. Cameron Reaman’s RBI double and an outfield error ultimately resulted in SSU putting up four runs on three hits while sending nine batters to the plate in the frame as the Bears took a 6-2 lead after five innings of work. Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch to push SSU’s lead to a game-high 7-2 in the top of the seventh and seal the win with an insurance tally.
In the win, Garrett Goodwin picked up his second quality start in a row, with the freshman throwing an impressive six-and-two-thirds innings of seven-strikeout baseball without walking a batter in the contest. Goodwin allowed nine hits but limited the damage by giving up just three earned runs in the contest.
Offensively, Sellers (3-for-3, RBI, run scored) and Reaman (2-for-4, double, RBI), led the charge while Rodriguez (1-for-2, RBI, two runs scored) and Duran (two runs scored) proved to be crucial at the plate, on the basepaths, on in both areas for SSU (1-9).
Shawnee State will take on Milligan in a single nine-inning contest on Sunday afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Johnson City.
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