Baseball splits on first day of Clash of Conferences against Cleary

Published 1:45 am Sunday, February 6, 2022

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KINGSPORT – On Saturday, February 5, the Milligan University baseball team turned in a pair of quality pitching performances in a doubleheader split against Cleary (Mich.) on the first day of the Clash of Conferences Tournament at Dobyns-Bennett high school.
Milligan earned a 5-3 win in game one and dropped game two 2-1 in nine innings. The Buffs move to 4-3 on the year while Cleary sits at 1-1.
Game 1 – Milligan 5, Cleary 3
After Jacob Poe left Cougars stranded on second and third in the first inning, Justin Greene led off the home half of frame with a double into left. A wild pitch moved him to third and he gave Milligan a 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout by Brandon Marello.
After Cleary tied the game with a run in the top of the second inning, Greene came through with a two-out, two-run single that scored Robert Salcedo and Logan Estep.
In the third, Anthony Guzman hit a towering home run to right field to give Milligan a 4-1 advantage. Both teams stole a run on the basepaths in the fourth as the Buffs led 5-2 going into the fifth.
Brock Browning relieved Poe in the fifth and retired seven-straight batters upon entering the game. Cleary scratched one more run across before Browning ended the game with a punchout.
Poe picked up his second win of the season as he went 4.0 innings and allowed two runs, one earned. He walked four and struck out three. Browning notched his second save of the season and tallied five strikeouts in 3.0 innings.
Milligan stole eight bases in game one as Ben Grable, Chancery Hall, Estep and Salcedo had two apiece.
Game 2 – Cleary 2, Milligan 1 (9 innings)
Game two starter Andrei Beal sat down eight of the first nine batters he faced and did not allow the Cougars to record a hit until the fifth inning. Beal’s finished with an impressive final line of 7.0 innings, one earned run, one hit, one walk and 10 strikeouts.
After Cleary scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth, Gaven Jones tied the game with a pinch hit home run in the bottom of the inning.
Milligan threatened in the bottom of the eighth inning as Estep reached third base after Casey Haire led off the inning with a single and advanced on a throwing error. After intentional walks Marello and Guzman, Cleary got out of the inning with force plays at home and third.
A solo home run in the top of the ninth gave Cleary a 2-1 advantage. Augustus Fraley had a one out single in the bottom of the ninth, but pinch runner Ben Grable was stranded at second base as the Cougars picked up the 2-1 victory.
Beal and Garrett Bowman allowed just two hits and one walk in the defeat. Bowman’s only hit allowed in his two innings of work was Cleary’s go-ahead home run.
Milligan baseball concludes the Clash of Conferences Tournament with a doubleheader against WVU Tech on Monday afternoon.

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