NASHVILLE, Tn. – While many have enjoyed the recent rain and snow, the weather hasn’t been ideal for baseball and softball, forcing several cancellations and postponements. 10 days after their last action, 18th-ranked Bryan baseball finally made their return to the diamond Tuesday night in a neutral battle against River States Conference opponent Brescia University (Ky.). The late game was pushed back even later into the night, but it was the top-ranked Lions who returned home with the win, seeing a 7-run explosion in the bottom of the third inning proving to be the difference-maker in the 8-4 victory. With the win, the Lions climbed to 5-0 to begin the season while the Bearcats fell to 2-4-1.
E.S. Rose Park, the home to Belmont University, was the setting for the non-conference bout. Brescia managed to outhit the Lions 6-4 and committed one error to Bryan’s zero mishaps. Bryan was the first to jump on the board with a lone run tallied in the bottom of the second when Shawn Bracamontes reached on a walk, advanced to second on Zach Shield’s single up the middle, and took scoring position on Anthony Tejeda’s sacrifice bunt. Bracamontes was able to reach home for run number one when Destine Udombon sailed a sac-fly to center, putting Bryan in front 1-0.
Brescia took advantage of several walks and wild pitches before collecting a pair of hits, including a two-run triple, which shot the Bearcats ahead with a 3-1 advantage at the start of the third. The bottom of the third would be when things began to unravel for the Bearcats, leaving the Lions comfortably in control the rest of the game. The tone was set when Brescia walked the first four Lion batters, allowing David Scoggins the free trip from third to home. The Bearcats made a pitching change and finally recorded the first out before notching the second out to help eliminate some of the pressure. Fortunately for the Lions, the Bearcats were unable to bring Bryan’s rally to an end with another walk adding on a run. A fielder’s choice by Tyler Scott scored Shield, Wade Weinburger drove in Tejeda and Parker Cosby with a single through the hole at second, Scott sprinted home on a wild pitch, and the inning was eventually capped with Weinburger scoring on Scoggins’ single to right.
Over the next five innings, the Lions were held scoreless while surrendering only one more run to the Bearcats in the sixth, as Bryan captured the 8-4 decision.
The Lions had nine pitchers rotate into the game, each handling their own inning. Trevor Ferguson started and had a clean slate with one strikeout. Cameron Harvey continued in dominating fashion by striking out the side with no hits or runs. Jacob Hallmark followed in the third, allowing two hits and three earned runs with two walks and three K’s. Joseph Cuomo secured his second win of the year with one strikeout and one hit. The fifth was overseen by Reece Roach who was spotless with a pair of K’s. Demoi Hodge tossed the sixth and gave up two hits, one earned run, walked one, and recorded a single strikeout. Tyler Burke was next and held the Bearcats hitless with no runs, one walk, and one strikeout. David Walker produced two K’s and gave up just one hit before Dalton Ross closed with a final clean frame.
At the plate, it was Shield who led the Lions with two hits. Weinburger and Scoggins dealt Bryan’s other connections with one apiece, as Weinburger finished with a team-high two runs batted in. The Lions totaled five stolen bases with Cosby swiping a team-best two stolen bags and Scott, Weinburger, and Tejeda taking one, respectively.
Bryan will stay on the road with a visit to William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi over the weekend where the Lions will see both William Carey and Campbellsville University (Ky.) on Friday and Saturday. Start times are still to be determined.