Asbury Baseball Takes Three of Four Against Berea
BEREA, Ky. – Asbury baseball won three of four including three straight against Berea over the weekend in KIAC action. The Eagles dropped the first game 4-3 before rallying to win the next three 4-2, 15-8 and 10-9 (8). Asbury overcame a 7-0 deficit in game four for the win.
Asbury now sits in third place in the six-team KIAC at 9-7 in league play. Point Park leads with 10-4 record and two games on Sunday against Brescia. Indiana Southeast is 10-5 and still has a suspended game against Berea to finish from earlier in the season. Asbury’s final conference weekend is at Brescia next Friday and Saturday. Brescia is currently 7-7 in league play and in fourth place. The top two teams in the KIAC will receive byes in the KIAC Tournament hosted by Indiana Southeast beginning on April 24.
At 18-30 this season, the Eagles have matched their win total from a season ago when they went 18-39 (9-7 KIAC) and won the KIAC Tournament, eventually advancing to the NAIA Opening Round.
Game 1 | Box Score
Berea scored twice in the first inning as the Mountaineers picked up a pair of hits to lead off the inning. Asbury took a 3-2 lead with one run in the third and two in the fourth. Brandon Smith led off the third with a single followed by Casey Messner’s second hit of the game. After being sacrificed over to second and third, Landon Skaggs knocked in Smith with a sacrifice fly.
In the fourth Simeon Bell led off with a double, one of two on the day for Bell, and scored two batters later on a fielder’s choice. After Smith singled again, Messner knocked in Andrew Moran with his third hit of the game. Messner finished the game 3-3 with three singles and a walk. Bell and Smith also had multi-hit games.
Berea scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth as Mikey Scott led off the inning with a single. After stealing second he scored on a double by Austin Hunt. Hunt scored two batters later on a single by Ty Shipley.
Isaiah Bell took the loss despite striking out five over six innings. The senior falls to 2-8 on the season after allowing seven hits and four runs. He also walked three. Kyle Tibbs pitched a complete game for the Mountaineers to pick up the win. He allowed 11 hits but Asbury left 11 men on base in the game.
Game 2 | Box Score
Zach Settle continued to shut down opposing KIAC schools with a six-inning performance on Friday night. The freshman allowed just four hits in six innings and struck out five in picking up his third win of the season. All three wins have come in conference play as he’s posted a 3-0 record with a 3.38 ERA in 24 innings over four conference starts. He’s struck out 23 during that time and walked only eight.
Berea again got on the board early, scoring twice in the first inning again in game two. Both runs were unearned as an error prolonged the inning and allowed the first run to score. Berea had two doubles in the inning and three of their four hits. Settle would settle down after the first, retiring nine straight at one point. He got a 4-6-3 double play with one out and runners on the corners to end the sixth and holding a 4-2 lead. Micah Pace picked up his third save of the season after pitching the seventh.
The Eagles finally broke through in the fourth against Blake Sullivan, scoring three runs. Asbury also took advantage of an error in the inning as all three runs would be unearned. Asbury collected three hits in the inning, including a double by Jared Hahn to lead it off and run-scoring double by Dallas Murphy to score the final run. Simeon Bell also had an RBI single in the inning. Asbury scored their final run in the fifth as Casey Messner ripped a one-out triple and scored on Hahn’s single.
Game 3 | Box Score
Asbury scored early and often in a 15-8 rout of Berea in Saturday’s first game. The Eagles scored four in the first and put a seven spot on the board in the fourth. Jordan Cox knocked in two with an RBI double in the first and Simeon Bell followed with an RBI single.
In the fourth, the first eight batters reached base en route to seven runs. Berea used three pitchers to get out of the inning after walking six in the frame. Asbury also had three hits in the inning. Four straight batters walked with the bases loaded before Dallas Murphy brought in a run with a sacrifice fly.
The Eagles weren’t done scoring after the fourth, adding a run in the fifth and three in the sixth. Casey Messner tripled in a run in the sixth as he finished with three more hits and just missed hitting for the cycle without a home run. Jared Hahn also had three hits and drove in two.
Anthony Palmer came out of the bullpen to pick up the win, tossing two innings of one-hit ball. He struck out two. Logan Howard started but was pulled after two innings, allowing three runs that cut the early AU lead to 4-3.
Berea walked 12 and committed six errors in the game.
Game 4 | Box Score
Asbury trailed 7-0 after two innings but mustered a late-inning comeback to force extra innings before prevailing 10-9 in eight innings. After breezing through the first inning Chad Warner was touched up for six runs in the second inning. Warner lasted just 1.1 innings, walking two and giving up four hits. Brandon Ray was summoned from the bullpen and after a walk to the first batter he faced, Ray rolled up a 6-4-3 double play to escape the jam.
Ray gave up a leadoff double in the third and was pulled in favor of game three starter Logan Howard. Howard pitched effectively, giving up a walk and a single but got a ground ball double play to end the threat. After being rested for the series Josh Bertke worked two innings of relief, allowing just one hit and striking out three and Micah Pace pitched the final three innings to get the win and improve to 4-4.
While the bullpen was keeping Berea at bay, the offense got going for the Eagles. Asbury scored three in the third and put up four in the sixth to tie the game at 7-7. Errors again were the Eagles best friend as Berea committed six more in this game.
Dallas Murphy got the rally started with a one-out double. Logan Crum followed with a single and Casey Messner was plunked to load the bases. An error at second on a ball off the bat of Jared Hahn allowed Murphy to score and Landon Skaggs followed with a two-run single.
Four singles and another error helped the Eagles complete the comeback and score four in the sixth. Hahn, Tyler Messner and Jordan Cox all had run-scoring hits in the inning and Bell added an RBI groundout.
Casey Messner knocked in the eventual winning run in the eighth as Berea committed two more errors in the inning. Landon Skaggs picked up a career-high four hits in the game, the second four-hit game by an Eagle this season.