PIKEVILLE — The Pikeville College baseball team came away with a Mid-South Conference split this past weekend with the Tigers of Campbellsville University.
The Bears swept the reigning MSC Champions on Friday, winning game one by a 5-3 score then taking game two by the count of 5-4. But on day two, the Tigers proved why they are the champs, slaughtering the Bears 21-4 in game three and holding off Pikeville to win game four 3-2.
The Bears, who entered the weekend with six straight losses, move to 12-15-1 overall this season and 3-5 in the Mid-South Conference.
Pikeville took a quick lead in game one, as senior leadoff hitter Adam Collins (Paintsville) opened the bottom of the first with a double then came around on an RBI-single by sophomore Nathan Free (Kingsport, Tenn.).
Campbellsville, however, took the lead on Pikeville starter Jordan Compton (Bee, Va.), scoring on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third to tie the game, and then using a Pikeville error to take the lead in the top of the fourth. The Tigers eventually chased the junior southpaw with another run in the top of the fifth, padding their lead to 3-1.
Pikeville managed to cut into the lead with a run in its half of the fifth. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, the Bears caught fire. With one man out and nobody on, the Bears got a single and a double to tie the game. A hit-batsman and a Campbellsville error later, the Bears had the lead, and would hold on for the win.
Collins paced the Pikeville offense, going 3-3 and ending up a homerun shy of hitting for the cycle. The win went to freshman reliever A.J. Elliott (Independence). The crafty lefty picked up where Compton left off, shutting out the Tigers over the final two innings picking up his first collegiate win (1-1).
Still, it was Campbellsville who would get on the board first in game two. Slugger Chris Curley led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to give CU a quick 1-0 lead.
But the Bears answered in a big way in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs on two doubles, two singles, and a hit-batsman.
The lead seemed to be enough for southpaw starter Matt DeBlauw (Broadview Heights, Ohio), but the Tigers roared back, scoring a run in the top of the fifth. After the Bears added a run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-2, CU got a two-run, opposite-field homer by Temple Macdonald in the top of the sixth to cut the Pikeville lead to 5-4 and effectively chased DeBlauw.
But freshman reliever Ben Wigger (Hebron) took over for the junior left-hander, shutting out the Campbellsville hitters over the last two innings to secure the win.
Sophomore catcher Josh Adams (Pikeville) led the Bears’ attack in game two, picking up two doubles, three RBI, and scoring a run. Collins also added two hits and a run scored in the win.
The win went to DeBlauw (4-3), who gave up four earned over 5-1/3 innings, striking out two, and walking one. Wigger picked up his second save of the season with two shutout innings of relief.
But something happened to the Campbellsville Tigers during the 18 hours between games two and three.
The Tigers pounced all over Pikeville senior starter Rene Alicea (Barceloneta, Puerto Rico) in game three, scoring six runs on the hard-throwing right-hander and chasing him after only 1-1/3 innings.
Pikeville would cut into the lead with four runs of its own in the bottom of the third, but the Bears would get no closer.
Campbellsville used a nine-run fourth inning to put the game out of reach at 15-4 and poured on the pain with seven more runs over the last three innings to burry the Bears 21-4.
Curley had a career day in game three, going 6-6 with four doubles, six runs scored, and an RBI for Campbellsville, while also striking out 11 Bears en route to a victory on the mound.
Collins again led the Pikeville offense, going 3-4 with a triple and a run scored.
Still, the Bears did not let the shellacking get to them in game four, as Tardy opened the bottom of the first with a triple and trotted home when Tigers catcher Matt Lepage threw the ball away when tossing it back to the mound.
But the Tigers answered, scoring two runs in the top of the second off Pikeville senior starter Tony Preston (Louisville).
Trailing 2-1, the Bears’ bats went cold over the next two innings. But with one out and nobody on, freshman catcher Kory Darby (Worthington) took a hanging breaking ball and launched it into the riverbed beyond the outfield wall for his first collegiate home run, tying the game at 2.
Preston went back to work, but the Tigers again had an answer. Nathan Quesenberry opened the top of the fifth with a single and moved up to second on a sac bunt. Preston then let fly a wild pitch, which allowed Quesenberry to move up to third, and he would soon come around on a sacrifice fly to right field, giving CU the 3-2 advantage.
Campbellsville starter Jason Neufeld shut the Bears down in the sixth, but Pikeville got close in the seventh, getting the tying run to second base with one man out. Still, Neufeld managed to get a popout for out number two, and struck out the next man to end the game and give the Tigers a sweep for the day and a split in the series.
The hard-luck loss went to Preston (2-3), who allowed three runs on seven hits over seven innings. Darby and Tardy both had a pair of hits and a run scored in the loss.
The Bears will return to action today when they play host to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.