The Bulldogs opened up their season this weekend at the University of Auburn-Montgomery, playing against AUM, Southern Poly, and Embry Riddle. The Bulldogs came away with 2 wins and 2 losses, splitting with AUM, defeating Southern Poly, and losing to Embry Riddle.
Tennessee Wesleyan started the weekend with the game against Southern Poly on Saturday winning 14-5. The Bulldogs had just nine hits, but took advantage of five errors and put the game away with a seven-run sixth inning.
Senior Stephen Branca led the offense with a home run and double, scoring three runs and driving in four. Junior Jake Stone also had two hits with a double, scored twice and had five RBIs. Senior Taylor Oldham homered with two RBIs and senior Tanner Quirk had a hit with two runs scored.
Junior Jeremy Fitzgerald was the winning pitcher, giving up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and issued one walk. Senior Corey Collins earned the save, allowing just one run on two hits with three strikeouts over three innings.
They then played their first game against AUM. Wesleyan struck for three runs in the top of the first inning, two coming on a Branca double. Auburn-Montgomery, however, answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame, all coming after a two-out error with just one runner on base opened the door. The Bulldogs were defeated 8-5.
Branca had two hits with a double, run scored and two RBIs. Junior Travis Burnside had two hits with two runs scored and Stone a hit with two RBIs. Senior Josh McDaniel was the losing pitcher, surrendering seven runs on seven hits two strikeouts and two walks over four innings. Junior Zach Fleshman allowed one run on one hit with three walks in two innings of relief.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs were defeated by Embry Riddle, 5-2, before defeating AUM 10-9. In the game against Embry-Riddle, Oldham's single gave Wesleyan a 2-0 lead after one inning, but the Bulldogs would not score again. Senior Anthony Boix had two hits with a run scored and Oldham two hits with two runs batted in. Junior Josh Culler was the losing pitcher, allowing three runs on four hits, four walks and three strikeouts over four innings. Levi Dean gave up two runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in two innings of relief.
Wesleyan trailed 6-2 against AUM before Branca hit a grand-slam home run in a five-run fifth to put the Bulldogs on top, 7-6. AUM rallied to lead, 8-7, before Wesleyan put up three runs in the seventh and held off another comeback by host team in the bottom of the inning. Branca had two hits with four RBIs and three runs scored. Oldham had a hit two RBIs; Freshman Brackton Smith a hit with two runs scored and Quirk a hit and run scored.
Senior Ben Crocker surrendered six runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Junior Justin Sprenger picked up the win, allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Fleshman earned the save, giving up one run on two hits and a strikeout in one inning.
Tennessee Wesleyan hits the field next on Sunday, February 5th against Pikeville University at Shorter University in GA at 12:00 pm. The Bulldogs play their first home game on February 8th at 2:00 pm against Shorter University.