Eagles Split Pair in Tennessee
DAYTON, Tenn. – Asbury battled back to earn a split in the first day of the Tennessee Valley Invitational dropping their opener to No. 11 Madonna (Mich.) 11-0 in five innings before holding on to take down co-host Bryan 13-11 in the nightcap.
Against Bryan the Eagles pounded out 12 hits, worked five walks and struck out only twice as they scored in six of the seven innings. Asbury added one run in each of the first four innings before adding two in the top of the fifth to take a 6-4 lead. Bryan would answer with two of their own in the bottom half and neither team would score in the sixth.
In the seventh Asbury exploded for seven runs as Bryan used three pitchers in the inning. Greg Bowling came through with the first big hit of the inning, driving in two with a pinch hit double to the left-center gap. Zander Gross and Casey Messner each drove in a run with a single before Brandon Smith knocked in the final two with a double to right.
Bryan would respond with a five spot in the bottom of the inning but Messner was able to come on in relief to notch his first career save. Isaiah Bell picked up his first win of the season, pitching 1.2 innings in relief. Gardner Adams started and went four innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five.
In the first game of the day the Eagles’ bats were completely silent, collecting only one hit in the game. Evan Thomsen saved Asbury from being no-hit with a single to right in the top of the fifth. Asbury had only three base runners in the game, in the first when Gross reached on an error and Jordan Barker’s walk in the third.
Madonna’s Jeremy Gooding was too good on this day, striking out nine in his one-hit performance. Asbury’s Josh Thigpen was knocked out after just two innings, surrendering six hits, four walks, and nine runs. Madonna jumped on the Eagles in the first with five runs and never looked back. They would add four in the third and one each in the second and fourth innings.
Asbury is set to play Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday at 10:00 am on the final day of the invitational. The Eagles will play a second game on Saturday against a still yet to be determined opponent at an unknown time.