April 14, 2012

Baseball uses run rule for second time in two days

Carl Iwasaki Audio | Joe Willman Audio

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

GREELEY – A pair of wins on Saturday gave the Northern Colorado Baseball team its first series sweep of the season after defeating NYIT 14-8 and 13-1 in a seven-inning run-rule affair.

The Bears (14-17, 5-3 Great West) hit well in the first game, scoring their 14 runs on 17 innings, while they took advantage of three NYIT errors in the second game, scoring 13 runs on eight hits. On the weekend, NC outscored NYIT 52-11 and two of the games were called in the seventh-inning due to the Great West Conference 10-run rule after seven innings.

Senior Adrian Schenk paced the team on Saturday, going 6-for-9 over the two games with four RBI and one stolen base.

The Bears head to Kansas State for a mid-week two-game series at Kansas State before returning home to host a four-game series with Houston Baptist starting on Friday.

Game One Recap
As they had in the first two games of the series, the Bears broke onto the scoreboard first, scoring two in the bottom of the first. Freshman Ryan Yamane singled past the second baseman to start things off. Senior Casey Coy drew a walk and fellow senior Adam Hilker singled, scoring Yamane. Hilker stole second and Coy scored on a sacrifice fly to right by freshman Jensen Park.

NYIT and NC each scored one run in the second inning. With one out, Derek Baum and Eric Ferguson were hit by pitches back-to-back, Yamane reached on an error and Baum scored on a fielder's choice.

NYIT took its first lead of the series, scoring three runs in the top of the third, but the Bears immediately answered with two in the bottom half of the frame for the 5-4 score.

Park singled up the middle and stole second. Schenk singled through the right side and advanced to second on a throwing error by the right fielder, which allowed Park to score. Bryan Tibbitts singled to plate Schenk to regain the lead, which they never relinquished.

In the fourth, Ferguson singled up the middle and then Yamane laid down the perfect bunt that died as soon as it hit the infield grass. Coy tripled to left-centerfield and scored on a balk by the pitcher. With one out, Park singled up the middle and Schenk bunted for a single. Tibbitts singled to right center to score one and Taylor Anderson reached via error and in his second at bat of the inning, Ferguson walked.  Yamane also drew a walk and got an RBI as the bases were loaded ahead of him.

In the top of the fifth, NYIT got one back, but the Bears kept their foot on the throttle, scoring two in the bottom of the half. With one out, Park tripled to right-center and scored on a double down the left field line by Schenk, who scored two batters later when Anderson singled.

NYIT threatened again with two runs in the top of the seventh and one in the top of the ninth, but the Bears added an insurance run in the eighth for the 14-8 victory. Ferguson tripled for the team's third of the game and scored on a single by Yamane.

Schenk was 4-for-5 in the game, while both Park and Yamane went 3-for-4.

Senior Nate Steinmetz improved to 2-4 overall after pitching the first five innings of the game. He gave up four earned runs on nine hits, walking just one and striking out five. Eian Raeber and Josh Tinnon each threw two innings in relief. Raeber allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts, while Tinnon allowed one run on three hits.

Game Two Recap
For the second-time in two days, the Bears were able to run-rule NYIT, winning 13-1 in seven innings. There was no scoring until the third inning.

NYIT scored one after Lucas Fermin tripled to right center and scored on a ground out. The Bears immediately answered with three runs in the bottom half. Senior Tony Crudo reached on an error, moved to second on a ground out to the pitcher by Harrison Lambert and then Ferguson and Yamane each walked. All moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch, scoring Crudo and two more came home when Coy singled down the left field line.

Neither team scored in the fourth, but the Bears exploded for seven runs in the fifth inning on just two hits, highlighted by a two-run homerun from Crudo. The team added three more in the sixth with four singles and a pair of walks to shorten the game.

Senior Joe Willman threw the complete game, allowing just four hits and one run. He walked only one and struck out four to improve to 3-5 on the season.