Weinburger & Burris Go The Distance but Lions lose game 13-11
BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Of Bryan College’s seven hits, four were homeruns by the duo of Wade Weinburger and Lake Burris who went the distance twice in the series finale against the host team Union College on Saturday. Another hit was a double registered by Fernando Garcia as the three of the Lions led the Bryan baseball team with two hits apiece. Although the Lions had an impressive day at the plate, it was the Bulldogs who unleashed for a staggering 16 hits, which included a lone homerun, triple, and double to triumph in the shootout. It was a tie ballgame 4-4 heading into the sixth, but Union turned on the heat with an eight-spot in the bottom of the frame. Bryan responded to close the deficit to 12-11 with a seven-run rally in the top of the seventh, but that would be the final runs produced for the Lions before the Bulldogs swiped one more insurance run in the bottom of the inning that ultimately gave way to a 13-11 decision.
Despite Saturday’s loss, Bryan outlasted Union in Friday’s doubleheader 12-8 and 9-5 to win the Appalachian Athletic Conference series 2-1 over the two-day span, improving to 16-5 in the AAC and 32-11 overall. Union had their conference record slip to 6-15 and overall record drop to 15-22.
Weinburger posted the first run of the day in the top of the initial frame with a solo shot over the left-field fence, helping Bryan to a 1-0 lead. The advantage for the Lion’s wouldn’t last long though as the Bulldogs pieced together four singles in the bottom of the first to tally a pair of runs, taking over the lead 2-1.
Bryan evened the score 2-2 with one run in the top of the second. Rodney Tennie was patient at the plate, giving way to a walk. Tennie used his speed to steal second and then round third and head home as John Hennen connected for an RBI single to left-center.
The Bulldogs used a leadoff triple to deep left-center and a single that followed to regain an edge at 3-2 after three innings of action.
Garcia was hit by a pitch to start things off for Bryan in the top of the fourth and wouldn’t stay on base long as Burris drove a two-run bomb over the center field fence on a 1-1 count to launch the Lions into the lead 4-3. Union answered in the bottom of the frame as a single to short and a sacrifice bunt put a runner on second before another single, this time to center, would score a run and level the score at 4’s.
After the fifth, the only inning through seven that was scoreless, the Bulldogs went on the attack in the bottom of the sixth for the game-changing eight-run performance that saw a total of seven hits and one error. It began with a single and successful bunt. A sac-bunt followed, advancing runners to second and third with one out. The next batter was walked, loading the bases, which set up Union for the first run of the rally as a single put a run on the board and kept the bases loaded. A trio of runs were brought in off a big double down the left-field line. Bryan was forced to make a pitching change, but that wouldn’t slow down Union as a single put two runners on before a three-run homerun grew the difference even more. A hit by pitch, stolen base, and a bobble by the Lions allowed the Bulldogs a runner in scoring position at third. The eighth run of the inning scored on a single thru the hole at shortstop, settling the score 12-4 heading into the seventh.
After Union’s valiant rally, then came Bryan on the charge in the top of the seventh for their largest production of the contest. Shaq Bermudez led off with a walk and handed over running duties to Prentice Young, while Hennen reached base on a Union error. The next Lion up, Trevor Behrent, was also walked so a loaded bases scenario was given to Weinburger, stepping to the plate. The James Cistern, Bahamas native took the second pitch thrown his direction and sent it towering over the center-field fence for the grand slam! Cody Young kept the momentum going as he reached base after wearing a pitch. Garcia drove in Young with a double deep down the left-field line and then had his chance to score when Burris recorded his second two-run jack of the day, but this time on a full count. The powerful swinging by Bryan narrowed the gap to one run, 12-11. Unfortunately, one more run added on by Union in the bottom of the inning would be the last score of the game. A single up the middle, walk, and groundout put a runner on third. It looked like the Lions might retrieve the last out via strikeout, which would have been the case, but the wild pitch despite the swing and miss by the Bulldog would allow the runner to reach first and the runner on third to come home, sealing a 13-11 final.
Arinson Martinez moved his record to 4-3 this season after hurling 5.1 innings and surrendering 12 hits, seven runs, one walk, and amassing six strikeouts. Dalton Ross entered in the sixth but fell victim to three hits and five runs while unable to gather an out. Zane Glass finished out the frame with a clean slate beside one walk and one strikeout. Brandon Marklund closed the final two innings, allowing a mere one hit and one run with a lone walk and trio of K’s.
Offensively, it was all Weinburger, Burris, and Garcia as the three Lions combined for six hits, two apiece. Weinburger was 2-for-5 with two homeruns (one grand slam), team-high five RBI’s, and two runs scored. Burris followed with a 2-for-5 outing, notching a pair of two-run homeruns with four RBI’s and two runs scored. Garcia went 2-for-4 with a double, stolen base, one RBI, and two runs scored. Hennen was the only other Lion with a hit, ending 1-for-4 with an RBI and run scored.
Weinburger currently leads Bryan with 16 homeruns, trailed by Burris with 13 and Garcia with 11. Garcia leads the team with 17 doubles, .732 slugging percentage, .427 batting average, and 70 hits. Weinburger’s 54 RBI’s and 59 runs scored are a team-best.
The individuals are also bringing national attention to Bryan by ranking in the top of nearly every offensive category in the NAIA.