PIKEVILLE – For the second straight season, the University of Pikeville baseball team has won its regular-season, Mid-South Conference series with Bluefield (Va.), taking two wins on Saturday before falling in the Sunday finale at Johnnie LeMaster Field.
The Bears put together a 9-5 win in the opener before having to outlast the Rams 4-3 in 10 innings in game two. That win went three extra innings as it was only schedule to be a seven-inning game.
Sunday was not as kind to UPIKE as it could only string together eight hits, compared to 21 by Bluefield in a 13-1 loss. With the series win, the Bears improve to 12-8 overall and an even 3-3 in MSC play, while Bluefield drops to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in league play.
Before losing two straight on Saturday, Bluefield came into Pikeville riding a 12-game winning streak.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning of game one, UPIKE fought back with two runs in both the second and third innings, followed by a game-winning three spot in the fifth. First baseman Nicolas Gonzales was hot at the dish, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs, a double and a walk.
While Gonzales was good all day, it was catcher Cody Chagnon that may have got the rally started by hitting a solo home run in the second inning to first put UPIKE on the board. Holding a slim 4-3 lead in the fifth inning, right fielder Connor Osborne put the game away with a deep double that brought home three runs.
Michael Vaquera took the win in the opener after giving up three runs in five innings.
After seven innings in game two, the score was tied 2-2, sending it into extra frames with left fielder Zach Nothwehr and third baseman Erik Manning having the hot hands with a pair of hits each.
Bluefield briefly went up 3-2 in the ninth, but Osborne brought Manning home from third on a sacrifice fly to extend the game. After a scoreless top of the 10th for the Rams, UPIKE got a single from Nothwehr that brought home shortstop Chaz Contreras who had singled to lead off the inning and end the game.
While starter Zak Sutherland allowed just two runs in eight innings of work in that one, it was reliever James Brooks who took the win after closing out the final two frames with just one run allowed on one hit.
Game three’s only offensive highlight was Gonzales going 3-for-4 and scoring a run, but other than that the game belonged to the Rams. Pikeville committed three errors in the game and was down 9-0 after the fifth inning.
The Bears cut the lead to 10-1 in the bottom of the sixth after scoring on a wild throw, but that would be it as Bluefield added three more runs in the ninth to complete the lopsided win.
Joe Valentino took the loss for UPIKE after allowing nine runs, six earned, on 12 hits with two strikeouts in five innings.