PIKEVILLE – It was an exciting day at Johnnie LeMaster field with a pair of one-run games between the University of Pikeville and Cincinnati-Clermont on Sunday. The Bears captured the first win 2-1 before falling 6-5 in the nightcap.
UPIKE (9-4) earned the opening win with two runs on just two hits, instead using a walk and some wild throws by the defense to score the winning runs. Game two was tied 3-3 in the top of the fifth inning, but UC-Clermont (1-1) posted a three-run sixth on three hits to take control of the game.
After two and a half scoreless innings in game one, Pikeville finally got some offense going in the bottom of the third inning. It started with right fielder Connor Osborne drawing a walk and moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Bryan Bradley. After moving to third on a wild pitch, shortstop Chaz Contreras put down a bunt that allowed Osborne to score.
The Cougars failed to get Contreras out on the bunt, instead sailing a throw to first that allowed him to slide into second base. Contreras promptly stole third before left fielder Zach Nothwehr ripped a double to put UPIKE up 2-0.
While the Bears wouldn’t score again, Corey Gilligan took the mound for the save in the seventh inning when UC-Clermont finally pushed across a run. Third baseman Trevor Cunningham led off with a double. After reaching third on a bunt, Cunningham put the Cougars on the board on centerfielder John Cloyd’s groundout.
With two outs and empty base paths, second baseman Jake Scarlato was UC-Clermont’s last chance, but he was struck out by Gilligan to end the game, giving him the save (1) and Zak Sutherland (2-1) the win. Sutherland lasted the first six innings, scattering five hits and striking out four.
Third baseman Erik Manning had the big game for Pikeville in game two, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run (2), two RBIs, a double, walk, stolen base and two runs scored. It was a big stat line and the heroics reached their apex in the seventh inning with a two-run blast to get the Bears within one.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, first baseman Nicolas Gonzales hit a two-out single and went to second on Manning’s walk. Scottie Whitaker took over on the base paths for Gonzales and came around to tie the game on two wild pitches by Brandon Boyd.
The tie didn’t last long as the Cougars added three runs in the sixth inning. Left fielder Dayton Rausch drove in two of the runs with a two-out double, followed by adding another on a single by Cloyd.
Needing three runs to tie the game in the seventh, UPIKE came up just short as Manning’s towering shot over the left-field fence provided the only offense, bringing Gonzales and himself across home plate.
Logan Sales (0-1) was stuck with the loss, allowing two runs on a hit and a walk without registering an out in the sixth inning.