LAURINBURG, N.C. – Sean Ryan tallied four hits and Cody Chagnon drove in three runs to help the University of Pikeville split at St. Andrews (N.C.) on Sunday in the Bears’ season-opening series.
The Knights (2-1) won two out of three games over the weekend, but it could have easily swung the other way with UPIKE falling 3-2 in eight innings in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader. Outhitting St. Andrews 12-5 in the finale, UPIKE closed its trip with an 8-4 win.
Corey Gilligan went the distance on the mound in the loss, throwing 7 and 2/3 innings while allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts. Joe Valentino picked up the win for the Bears, allowing four runs on five hits with four strikeouts in just over three innings.
Resuming a game that was suspended due to rain on Saturday in the first inning with Pikeville (1-2) up 1-0, the Knights responded in the bottom half of the inning with a tying run. Their offense continued in the second with another run to take a 2-1 lead that lasted until the seventh inning.
First baseman Nicolas Gonzales got the Bears going with a one-out single and advanced to third on Chagnon’s single with two outs. A St. Andrews infielder misplayed the ground ball, giving Gonzales time to come home to tie it up at 2-2 and send the game into extra innings.
After UPIKE came up empty in the top of the eighth, the Knights ended the game with a walk and single that brought second baseman Blain Turner home from second.
Game two was a back-and-forth offensive showcase that started off with the Knights building a 2-1 lead in just the first inning. After the top of the fourth inning the Bears had a 4-2 lead but St. Andrews bounced back with a single and two doubles to tie it up and bring Logan Sales in from the bullpen for UPIKE.
While St. Andrews wouldn’t score again against Sales, who finished with four strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit, Pikeville was able to score one run in the fifth and three more in the seventh to put the win away.
Left fielder Zach Nothwehr scored the winning run in the fifth after leading off reaching second on an error and coming around to score on a single by third baseman Erik Manning who went 3-for-4 in the game with a pair of RBIs.
UPIKE will return to the diamond on Feb. 7-8 at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss.