Lions are 2018 AAC Regular-Season Champions!
DAYTON, Tenn. – On Saturday evening, the 10th-ranked Bryan College baseball team captured the program’s first-ever Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular-Season title and did so in remarkable fashion! Not only was it on the Lion’s Senior Day, the Conference crown came down to the last regular-season contest for both Bryan and the visiting Reinhardt University Eagles (Ga.). After Bryan routed Reinhardt 12-4 on Friday in the series-opener, the Eagles soared to the tune of a 14-4 response in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Both sides were deadlocked at 20-6 entering the finale. Despite slipping up to start Saturday, Bryan battled back and left no chance for Reinhardt as the Lions took the 11-5 decision and the series 2-1.
It was a full team effort by the Lions to come away victorious, beginning on the mound with Brandon Marklund who outpitched four arms tossed by the Eagles. Marklund hurled a complete seven innings, surrendering a mere five hits and three earned runs with two unearned while walking four and striking out six. The win improved Marklund’s record to a perfect 5-0.
Bryan compiled eight hits and limited their scoring to two big innings. While Reinhardt also only scored in a pair of innings, the Lions topped the Eagles’ effort with four in the bottom of the second and seven more in the fourth. A two-run homerun in the top of the second by Reinhardt gave them the first lead, but Bryan’s Catawissa, Pennsylvania native Trevor Behrent zapped any of Reinhardt’s momentum in the bottom of the frame with his sixth homerun coming in grand slam style! Rodney Tennie was walked, David Scoggins hit a single, and Jacob Justice was walked. Next was Tyler Scott who reached on a fielder’s choice, as the Eagles caught a break with the force out at home. Little did they know that Behrent would use one swing of his bat to clear the bases, catapulting the Lions in front 4-2.
All hopes were ended for Reinhardt in the bottom of the fourth when Bryan pieced together a game-deciding rally. Justice led off the frame with a walk and would advance to second when Scott bunted and successfully reached first. Another bunt, this time by Behrent, moved Justice and Scott to second and third. The Eagles got the following Lion to strikeout swinging, needing only one more to eliminate the threat. The pressure was applied when Cody Young won a full count standoff and got the walk, which loaded the bases. Reinhardt showed they were shaken when a wild pitch gave Justice the easy pass home for a run. Two more runs were tacked on when Fernando Garcia recorded a two-run double, scoring both Scott and Prentice Young who entered as a courtesy runner for C. Young. Garcia’s time on second was cut short when Lake Burris connected for a second straight double. In a desperate attempt to cool off Bryan, Reinhardt made a pitching change. Unfortunately for the Eagles, it wouldn’t faze the Lions as Tennie drove a pitch over the right-field fence for homerun number five on the season and was trailed by Scoggins who took the first pitch thrown his way and crushed it, completing the back-to-back bombs. The homer was Scoggins’ 12th this year and the last run of the day for Bryan. Reinhardt responded with a three-run shot in the top of the fifth, but the comeback effort came up short as the Lions prevailed 11-5.
Behrent led Bryan with four RBI’s, making his lone connection count for a grand slam. Garcia and Scoggins had a team-high two hits apiece, while Garcia and Tennie matched each other with two runs batted in, respectively. Scoggins ended with an RBI, Burris had one RBI with his one hit, and Scott made the hit’s list with one. Burris and Garcia doubled while the trio of Behrent, Tennie, and Scoggins all went deep.
The Lions end the regular-season 21-6 in the AAC and 38-13 overall while the Eagles dropped their conference record to 20-7 and overall record to 36-15.
Up next for Bryan is the 2018 Appalachian Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament where the Lions hold the number one seed. The event is scheduled to run May 2-5 at Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport, Tenn. The tournament schedule has not been released yet.