Jack Slayton-Sports Editor, Daily Post Athenian
Tennessee Wesleyan College got a pair of strong pitching performances, but only one victory out of a doubleheader against visiting Indiana Tech on Saturday.
In game one, Levi Dean, Zach Fleshman, Alfonso Yevoli and Ben Crocker combined to scatter six, strike out 14 and allowed just one earned run, but received no support from the offense in a 2-0 loss.
Wesleyan had one more hit (7), but they were all singles and the Warriors turned three double plays.
In the second game, Josh Culler struck out nine over five innings and was backed up by a 14-hit attack as the Bulldogs rebounded to earn a split with a 7-3 win.
"The teams we play on our schedule aren't chopped liver," Wesleyan Coach Billy Berry said in reference to IU-Tech, which qualified for the NAIA playoffs a year ago and reached the region finals before losing to World Series qualifier Lee University. "We played decent defense and got great pitching, but when you don't do all the things necessary to win against good teams, you run the risk of losing.
"We didn't bring the same type of attitude and effort to the game that we did against Lee on Wednesday," he added. "Until we become more consistent - mentally and physically - in our approach, this is the result we're going to get."
Wesleyan (6-5) plays at Trevecca Nazarene University on Tuesday, starting at 3 p.m. TWC will host another 2011 NAIA playoff qualifier later this week in Indiana University-Southeast with doubleaheders on Friday (1 p.m.) and Saturday (noon).
Warriors 2, Bulldogs 0
Dean started for Wesleyan and went six innings, allowing six hits, while striking out nine and walking two.
Dean's only rough spot came in the third. A one-out double, followed by a run-scoring single and throwing error later in the inning, led to the game's only two runs.
Wesleyan had a leadoff single by Jake Stone in the second; back-to-back singles from Thomas Sicking and Travis Burnside in the third; a leadoff single by Stephen Branca in the fourth and another Branca hit in the sixth, but could not score.
In the seventh, Jordan Guida reached on an error and Tanner Quirk bunted for a hit before a double play ended the inning.
Travis Burnside led off the 8th with a single before another twin-killing ended the threat.
In the 9th, Sicking and Guida walked around a flyball out. Dale Ricketts then hit a hot smash to third. The IU fielder stepped on the bag for the second out, but his throw to first was high. Ricketts tripped over the bag trying to avoid a collision. As he rose to his feet, he was tagged by the first baseman and called out as the umpire ruled he was making a break to second base, ending the game.
Berry protested the call, but to no avail.
"Dale tripped to avoid running into the first baseman and happened to fall in fair territory - he was just getting to his feet," said Berry. "That call didn't cost us the game, but I thought it was the wrong call and I would liked to have gotten one more swing."
Zach Fleshman went 2 1/3 hitless innings, striking out four; Alphonso Yevoli retired the only batter faced and Ben Crocker struck out one.
Bulldogs 7, Warriors 3
Consecutive singles by Taylor Oldham, Guida and Drew Levi loaded the bases. With two outs, Burnside singled to right, scoring Oldham and Guida with Levi thrown out at the plate for a 2-0 lead in the second.
Leading 2-1, the Bulldogs put up three runs in the fourth. Oldham reached on a error, was bunted to second by Guida and scored on Levi's double. Ricketts then hit a two-run homer and TWC led, 5-1.
Both teams added single runs in the fifth and sixth frames. Wesleyan's run in the fifth came on a Stone single and Levi triple. The sixth-inning run was produced by a walk to Boix, followed by singles from Branca and Stone.
Culler went five innings to pick up the win, giving up two runs on three hits, while striking out nine and walking two. Corey Collins surrendered one run on two hits in one inning of work and Yevoli allowed one hit over one inning to earn the save.
Levi had three hits with two RBIs and a run scored. Boix had three hits, a run scored; Stone two hits, RBI and run scored; Burnside a hit, two RBIs and Rickets a hit with two RBIs.