The Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs Baseball team played in the championship game against Bluefield College on Wednesday, May 12th. The Bulldogs win of the AAC Championship will advance them to the first round of the National Tournament. The National Championship Opening Round Bracket will be announced on May 14th.
The Bulldogs were the visitors so they batted first and did it well. Ryan Santos started the Bulldogs off with a single up the center. Then Johnny Smith hit a single to advance Santos to second. Loveland hit a 3-run homer to put the Bulldogs on top 3-0. Rafael Carlot was then hit by a pitch and then advanced by an error which also got Brad Pippa to first. Andrew Tharp singled which scored Carlot and advance Pippa to third. A wild throw advanced Pippa home and Tharp to second. Tharp stole to third and then C.J. McElroy advanced to first on a walk. Santos was up to bat again and reached on a bobble by Bluefield. Tharp scored and McElroy advanced to third. Smith hit a double to score McElroy and Santos. Gaskill flied out to center to end the inning for the Bulldogs with a lead of 8-0.
In the third inning, Lindsey advanced to second on a wild throw and Tanner Quirk came in to pinch run. McElroy singled and Quirk scored. Santos doubled which advanced McElroy to third. Gaskill was hit by a pitch to advance him to first. Loveland grounded out which allowed McElroy to score. Bulldogs ended the inning ahead 10-0.
Bluefield came back to score in the 4th to make the score 10-3. The Bulldogs didn't slow down scoring 6 more in the 5th, 3 in the 6th, and one in the 8th. Going into the ninth inning the Bulldogs had a 20-3 lead over Bluefield. With no runs scored in the 9th, the game concluded with a score of 20-3.
The Bulldogs had a total of 21 hits. Ryan Santos and Johnny Smith led the team with 4 hits each. Max Loveland and Andrew Tharp each had 3 hits. Rafael Carlot, Cody Gaskill, and Max Loveland each had a homerun. David Lindsey put up 2 doubles, while Loveland, Santos, Smith, and Tharp each had their own double.
Troy Graybill pitched the first 4 innings giving up 3 runs on 5 hits while striking out 3. Daniel Wood came in to get the win as relief for the last 5 innings. Wood gave up 5 hits but no runs were scored.