Hilltoppers Drop Season Openers in Tennessee
JACKSON, Tenn. – The West Liberty University baseball team dropped a season-opening doubleheader to Union (Tenn.) by scores of 17-2 and 13-1 here Friday at a warm but windy Fesmire Field.
Coach Eric Burkle's Hilltoppers (0-2) had some chances in the opener but couldn't capitalize before the Bulldogs (2-3) broke the game open in the latter innings.
Ashland transfer Brad Goodyear staked West Liberty to an early 2-0 lead with a two-out, two-run opposite field home run in the top of the first but that turned out to be the high-water mark of the day for the Black and Gold.
The hosts answered with 5 runs in the bottom of the frame before tacking on two more in the second and raking the WLU bullpen for 10 runs over the final three innings.
After working through some control issues in the first two innings, Hilltopper starter Logan Grimm blanked Union over the last three frames of his 5-inning stint but West Liberty couldn't get anything going at the plate.
Ross Salvatori had the Hilltoppers' only multiple-hit game with a single and double. All-Region outfielder Ty Helmke walked all four times and had a stolen base.
In the nightcap, Helmke broke up a combined no-hit bid by the Union mound staff with a two-out RBI single to right field in the top of the seventh that also took the goose egg off the West Liberty side of the scoreboard.
Three Bulldog hurlers combined to shut down the Black and Gold in the second game. Winning pitcher Sam McMillin worked the first five innings, striking out 12 and walking four. After Ryan Evans came on to pitch a scoreless – and hitless – sixth inning, Stuart Edge got the first two outs in the seventh but also issued a pair of walks before Helmke's single.
The teams return to Fesmire Field on Saturday for a 2 p.m. (EST) doubleheader.
Union (Tenn.) 17, West Liberty 2
West Liberty 200 000 000 – 2 5 3
Union (Tenn.) 520 005 32x – 17 17 1
WLU: Grimm lp (4SO, 5W), Sinisgalli (6) (0SO, 1W), Hess (6) (2SO, 1W), Ash (7) (1SO, 1W), Phillips (8) (0SO, 0W) and Rine. R.Salvatori D, S; Goodyear HR, 2rbi
UU: Adkisson (2SO, 4W), Poindexter wp (3) (5SO, 2W), Thomas (8) (1SO, 0W), Orwig (9) (2SO, 0W) and Smith. Swanson T, D, 2S, 4rbi; Baker HR, 2S, 5rbi; Bozoian HR, S, 4rbi; Music HR, 2S, 2rbi
Union (Tenn.) 13, West Liberty 1
West Liberty 000 000 0 – 1 1 2
Union (Tenn.) 310 306 x – 13 13 1
WLU: Brady lp (2SO, 2W), Conley (5) (2SO, 2W), Aulick (6) (2SO, 0W) and Goodyear. Helmke S, rbi
UU: McMillin wp (12SO, 4W), Evans (6) (0SO, 0W), Edge (7) (0SO, 2W) and Cutrell. Swanson HR, 2S, 6rbi; Frierson 3S; Bozoian D, S, 4rbi