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Baseball - Mon, Mar. 26, 2012

The Bulldogs hosted the University of North Alabama on Sunday for a single nine inning game.  The Bulldogs took an early 2-1 lead after the first inning and kept the lead until the top of the sixth when UNA scored 2 runs to lead 3-2. UNA extended their lead in the 7th scoring 3 more while the Bulldogs only got 2 over the plate. Tennessee Wesleyan scored one in the bottom of the 8th but couldn't score any in the ninth leaving them defeated, 7-5. 

UNA's first run in the game came on an error by Wesleyan Starter Josh Cullers when with two outs and a runner at first, he tried to pick him off, but his throw went down the rightfield line giving the runner time to circle the bases. Wesleyan answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Anthony Boix reached on a one-out error and Stephen Branca doubled off the fence in left field. Jake Stone followed with a two-run single.

Cullers allowed only one baserunner over the next four innings, a second-frame walk that was erased by a double play. The Bulldogs were equally ineffective at the plate with only a single, hit-batsman and error providing baserunners. With one out in the UNA sixth, a hit, bunt single and walk loaded the bases. Cullers got a groundball, but a bobble on the front end of the double-play attempt resulted in only one out with a run scoring. Another single gave the Lions a 3-2 lead.

Following a walk, Zach Fleshman relieved Cullers to get the final out. Stone walked and Oldham singled to start the TWC sixth, but were still at first and second when the inning ended. Fleshman was tagged for three runs on two hits, an error and hit-batsman in the seventh to put the Lions on top, 6-2.

An error, two walks and RBI singles from Branca and Oldham closed the gap to 6-4 in the bottom of the inning. Wesleyan then had the bases loaded when a diving UNA third baseman knocked down a low liner off the bat of Jordan Guida and forced the runner at second to end the inning. Reliever Al Yevoli pitched a 1-2-3 8th.  Dale Ricketts' leadoff double and Travis Burnside's single brought the Bulldogs within a run in the bottom of the frame, but, for the third straight inning, Wesleyan left two or more runners on base. UNA added an insurance run off reliever Cory Collins in the 9th on a double, bunt single and throwing error. The Bulldogs failed to put a runner on in their last at-bat.

Branca had two hits, an RBI, two runs scored; Oldham two hits, an RBI; Burnside two hits, an RBI and Stone one hit, two RBIs. Cullers took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out five and walking three. Fleshman gave up three runs on two hits with one strikeout and one hit-batsman. Yevoli struck out one, while Collins surrendered one run on two hits with three strikeouts and two walks, one intentional.

The Bulldogs play on Tuesday against Faulkner University at 3:00 pm and then travel to Cumberland University on Wednesday to also play at 3:00 pm.