By: Kyle Janowicz – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton men’s baseball team traveled to Tennessee last week for what proved to be a tough weekend of competition.
In their first game of the weekend, the Flyers faced Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Friday, Feb. 21.
The Flyers opened the game with an offensive spark scoring four runs in the top of the first inning, the first two coming off a double by sophomore outfielder/first baseman Aaron Huesman. Senior outfielder Mark Podlas and fifth-year senior catcher Kuris Duggan were both hit by pitches while the bases were loaded, giving the Flyers two more runs in the inning.
The Blue Raiders responded quickly with a RBI single from senior outfielder Trent Miller, as well as a RBI double by junior catcher Michael Adkins in the bottom of the first. Middle Tennessee continued its scoring surge in the second inning, producing three runs, including an RBI single by Miller, giving them lead.
Down 6-4 in the fifth, the Flyers showed signs of a comeback as redshirt junior outfielder/first baseman/catcher Zach Schira sent a double down the right field line bringing home Huesman and bringing the Flyers within one run.
Middle Tennessee scored two more runs though in the bottom of the fifth to take a three-run lead. Schira responded with a single in the seventh, bringing home senior fielder Ryan Berry.
Dayton was unable to create any more scoring opportunities and was held scoreless and hitless by the Blue Raiders’ bullpen for the final two innings.
Dayton redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Noah Buettgen suffered his first loss of the season, throwing three strikeouts, but allowing eight hits and four earned runs through six innings.
Lipscomb 12, Dayton 3
Once again, an early offensive burst was not enough to elevate the Flyers to victory, Saturday Feb. 22, in Nashville, Tenn. Lipscomb University scored three runs off two singles, giving them an early two-run lead over the Flyers in the first inning of play.
Dayton answered right away, bringing in a run off a groundout by redshirt junior infielder Greg Rhude, and another two runs off a double from redshirt junior infielder Sergio Plasencia tying the game 3-3.
The Bisons took the lead for good in the bottom of the second on a groundout by junior infielder Mike Korte. Lipscomb dominated the game, scoring eight more runs and throve off a dominant pitching performance by redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Will Blalock. He finished the game with 10 strikeouts and one walk in six innings, while only allowing four hits.
Dayton 4, Belmont 1
In its final game of the weekend, Sunday, Feb. 23, Dayton rallied after dropping the first two games to defeat Belmont University in Nashville.
Both teams failed to capitalize early, as they were unable to create any scoring through the first four innings of Sunday’s game. In the fifth, however, Dayton found its opportunity. Senior infielder Robby Sunderman loaded the bases on an error during a sacrifice bunt attempt. Duggan and Rhude then hit consecutive groundouts, each bringing a runner home from third to take a 2-0 lead.
The Flyers held the Bruins scoreless in the bottom half of the inning, and added to their lead on a sacrifice fly by junior first baseman AJ Ryan in the sixth.
Belmont would respond on a RBI single by junior fielder William Dodd in the seventh, cutting the Flyers’ lead to 3-1.
Dayton would hold the Bruins scoreless down the stretch, and Sundermann created another scoring opportunity off an error in the top of the ninth. The Flyers cruised to victory thanks to a complete game from sophomore right-handed pitcher Charlie Dant. He finished the game allowing seven hits, while allowing only one earned run and throwing seven strikeouts, while walking one.
The Flyers gained their third victory of the season, getting the team’s record back to .500 after what proved to be a difficult weekend of play. The Flyers travel to Clarksville, Tenn., Friday, Feb. 28, for the Austin Peay Classic. UD will face host Austin Peay University Friday at 3 p.m., Xavier University Saturday, March 1, at 11:30 a.m. and Bradley University Sunday, March 2, at 11:30 a.m.