Lions Drop Pair In Final Home Series
DAYTON, Tenn. – In their final home series of 2018, the Bryan College softball team managed to hold the No. 2 team in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, neighboring school and rival Tennessee Wesleyan University, to a lone run in the opening contest of Tuesday’s twinbill before allowing the Bulldogs to 10 in game two. Unfortunately, the Lions were kept scoreless in the first outing and came up three runs shy of a comeback after rallying late and compiling seven runs in the nightcap. The 0-1 and 7-10 decisions moved Bryan to 9-14 in the AAC and 12-31 overall while Tennessee Wesleyan jumped their conference record to 18-6 and overall record to 25-15.
Despite the Bulldogs outhitting the Lions 10-2 in game one, Bryan’s pitcher Olivia Johnson and the defense prevented a high-scoring Tennessee Wesleyan side from overwhelming the board with a lone run coming in the top of the fifth. The winning run began with a leadoff single to center, followed by an error that allowed runners to first and second. With two outs, Briana Muller delivered a dagger RBI double to center, helping the Bulldogs narrowly edge out the Lions 1-0.
Johnson fell to 6-12 on the year, tossing a complete seven innings with 10 hits, one run, one walk, and three strikeouts. Hannah O’Shields and Courtney Bonaiuto registered one hit apiece, tallying both of Bryan’s hits in the bout. O’Shields sailed her lone connection for a double.
After one inning of play in the second game, there were already more runners who crossed home than the entire first game. Tennessee Wesleyan was the first to strike, capitalizing for two runs on three hits and a pair of Bryan errors. The Lions countered in the bottom of the frame to level the score 2-2 when Sydney Olander reached on a misplayed grounder, scored on Heidi Smith’s double to center, and then O’Shields produced an RBI with a single that drove in Smith.
The Bulldogs kept the momentum alive with two more in the second stanza. Back-to-back singles set the tone before a sacrifice bunt advanced runners to second and third. A single to center was all it took to score both Tennessee Wesleyan players, providing the visitors with a 4-2 advantage.
A fly out, groundout, and line out kept Bryan’s time at the plate brief in the bottom of the second. Afterward, Tennessee Wesleyan kept building onto their lead with a four-spot in the top of the third. Once again, two singles and a sac-bunt was the scenario for the Bulldogs, as they followed up with a walk to load the bases. A costly misplayed grounder by the Lions resulted in one run scoring for Tennessee Wesleyan. With bases still loaded, the next batter was walked that gave the free pass home to the person at third for run number two of the inning. The Bulldogs went on to swat two RBI singles for an 8-2 difference before the Lions snagged the final out to end the rally.
Two singles and a fielder’s choice aided in Tennessee Wesleyan notching another run in the top of the fifth, growing the margin to 9-2 after five innings of play. After three more went to bat and came up short for Bryan in the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs pieced together their last run of the day with one in the sixth. A walk, single, error, and RBI single put Tennessee Wesleyan on top 10-2 before Bryan broke their silence in the bottom of the frame. O’Shields led off with a single to center and advanced to second when Kimberly McKernie ripped a single to left. Bonaiuto trailed with a fielder’s choice where McKernie was tagged out, leaving runners on the corners. Kayla Hayes, who entered as a pinch hitter, reached first on a fielder’s choice and scored O’Shields for a 10-3 count.
After shutting down the Bulldogs in the top of the seventh, the Lions went to work in the bottom of the inning with a come-from-behind effort. Allison Walker led off with a single and was followed by Olander with a single to left. Then Ashley Brown reached on a fielder’s choice where Walker was forced out. With one out, Smith belted a quick shot to the shortstop, but an error kept her safe and loaded the bases. Tennessee Wesleyan was in trouble, having to pitch to O’Shields with runners in scoring position. O’Shields was poised and swung the bat around on the second pitch for a two-run single to left-center, scoring both Olander and Brown. The Bulldogs decided to make a pitching change, but the first Lion was walked off the fresh arm which filled the bases. Tennessee Wesleyan picked up the second out on Bonaiuto’s fielder’s choice, but in the process Smith scored. The next Lion to come through was Leslie Beecham who directed an RBI single to right, bringing O’Shields in for what would be the final run of the day. With a runner on third, a pop out brought the threatening rally to a close with the Bulldogs escaping 10-7.
Lindsey Dunn pitched a total of 3.2 innings, surrendering a total of nine hits and eight runs, six being earned, while walking two and recording a trio of K’s setting her mark to 5-13 on the year. Walker handled 2.1 frames, which gave way to five hits and one run. Johnson saw one inning of action, allowing a pair of hits and one run with one walk.
O’Shields had a hot bat, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a team-high three RBI’s and two runs scored. Smith was the only other Lions with a multi-hit performance, ending 2-for-4 with two runs scored, one run batted in, and one double. Olander, McKernie, Bonaiuto, and Beecham made the hit’s list with one, respectively. Bonaiuto, Beecham, and Hayes were awarded with one RBI apiece.