KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan didn't take the easy route but the result was the same as the Bulldogs won the 2013 Appalachian Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament, defeating No. 7 seed Virginia Intermont 10-1 in the championship game on Friday.
Tennessee Wesleyan (43-16 overall) has now won seven AAC Tournaments in a row.
The Bulldogs took the long way to the title this year, dropping their first tournament game since 2006 on Thursday with an 11-4 loss to No. 5 seed Reinhardt (26-30 overall). The loss forced a rematch on Friday, and Tennessee Wesleyan raced out to a 6-0 lead by the end of the second inning en route to the 8-1 decision.
Virginia Intermont (29-18 overall) won its pool by going a perfect 3-0, defeating St. Andrews, Union and Bryan.
In the championship game, the game went scoreless through the first two innings before the Bulldogs scratched out a pair of runs in the third. Taking advantage of a Cobra error, Tennessee Wesleyan picked up two unearned runs on a Travis Burnside sac fly and an Aaron Stubblefield RBI single.
Virginia Intermont cut the deficit in half in the fourth when Seth Davis tripled in a run. However, Tennessee Wesleyan exploded for five runs in the bottom of the frame to open up a 7-1 advantage. Josh McCray delivered the big hit of the rally as his singled drove in two and an error on the play allowed a third run to score.
The Bulldogs put the finishing touches on their victory with a three-run fifth for the 10-1 decision.
McCray finished the game 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while Stubblefield went 2-for-4 with two driven in.Brad Carpenter also had two RBIs. Brian Bardis picked the victory, allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Fabian Placencia led the Cobras offensively in going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Davis went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
With the tournament championship win, Tennessee Wesleyan receives an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, which begins on May 9. The pairings will be announced on Sunday for the opening round.
At the conclusion of the Tournament, an All-AAC Tournament team was selected. It lists as follows:
Tennessee Wesleyan: Wes Minton (MVP), Trey Griffin, Corey Rhoney and Aaron Stubblefield.
Virgina Intermont: Fabian Placencia, Taylor McInnis and Brandon Palmer.
Reinhardt: J.R. VanWie and Trent Sheffield.
Bryan: Joey Vega.
Union: Tyler Brake.
Milligan: Hunter Carpenter.
For more on the tournament, please visit the tournament page.
For complete tournament statistics, please click here.