April 28, 2013

Baseball holds on for win in HBU series finale

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

HOUSTON – Houston Baptist rallied in the bottom of the ninth, but senior Jake Johnson (Aurora, Colo.) got a huge strikeout to give the Northern Colorado Baseball team a 7-6 win the series finale between the two teams.

Both teams end the series with .500 records as the Bears are now 19-19 overall and 10-5 in Great West Conference play, while the Huskies are 20-20-1 and 8-7 in league action.

With the amount of rain on Saturday in Houston, the third game of the series was cancelled and the two teams played just one game on Sunday due to time constraints with the Bears flight home.

Johnson took over on the hill with runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth. He got two quick outs with a balk called in the middle for one run and after back-to-back hits brought the Huskies within one, 7-6, Johnson struck out leadoff hitter C.J. Jarvis for his first save of the year.

Junior Nick Miller (Loveland, Colo.) pitched only two innings in the start. He was hit by a line drive, but finished out the second frame and was able to remain in as the designated hitter the remainder of the game. Miller allowed two runs on one hit with three walks and had no decision. Senior Kevin Willman (Aurora, Colo.) won his third game of the year (3-2), throwing 3 2/3 innings in relief. He allowed just one run on three hits, walking one and striking out two.

Junior Robert Hawkins (Greeley) was perfect in his relief appearance, retiring all seven batters he faced for 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Senior Ben Packard (Niwot, Colo.) faced two hitters and both reached and he gave the ball over to Johnson.

The Bears had their seven runs on 12 hits with two HBU errors, while the Huskies scored six runs on seven hits with two NC errors.

Offensively, junior Colby Harrison (Cheyenne, Wyo.) continued to shine, going 3-for-5. Miller and sophomore Jensen Park (Kaneohe, Hawai'i) each added two hits, while five others had one base knock each.

Both sophomore Ryan Yamane (Honolulu, Hawai'i) and Park had two RBI in the game and junior Landon Moseley (Lawrence, Kan.) scored three times.

Houston Baptist scored two in the second inning after three-straight walks loaded the bases with one out.

For the second-straight game, Miller got the first Bears' hit of the game, doing so in the top of the third with a single back up the middle. Harrison followed with a similar single up the middle and junior Andrew Coffman (Davenport, Iowa) walked to load the bases, but the trio was stranded.

Sophomore Joe Love (Danville, Calif.) kicked off the fourth inning with a single to left field. Freshman Rob Cashel (Park City, Utah) was willing to sacrifice himself, but put down a bunt to the right side of the mound, allowing him to reach first base. Moseley loaded the bases with a bunt down the third-base line that was misplayed. Yamane belted a single back up the middle to score both Love and Cashel to knot the score at 2-2. Miller singled to right to give the Bears the lead for the first time in the series, 3-2 and Harrison singled off the pitcher's foot to plate Yamane. Coffman kept things going with a single through the 5-6 hole and Miller scored from second, knocking HBU starter Ross Kennell out of the game with the Bears leading 5-2.

The Bears added one more run in the fifth inning for a 6-2 advantage. Moseley singled through the right side with one out in the top of the fifth, moved to second on a groundout by Yamane and scored on a single by Park. Willman came out and retired the side in order in the fifth.

The Huskies answered with one run in the bottom of the sixth, closing within three, 6-3 after a walk and a single.

With two outs in the seventh, Moseley and Yamane drew back-to-back walks and Park singled to left to score one and stretch the lead back to four, 7-3, which proved to be a pivotal run in the ninth.

Note: On Sunday morning, Houston Baptist officials made a scoring change to Friday's game, changing a fielding error on Josh Tinnon (Niwot) to a hit for Mike Chamberlain, adding one more earned run to Tinnon's total.