MCKENZIE, TN - Baseball took the first 2 games of the 3-game series against SSAC opponent, the Bethel University Wildcats. The Knights took game 1 by a score of 7-4 in a 7 inning contest with game 2 going to the Knights 8-5 in 9 innings. The wins put the Knights at 30-8 on the season and 14-3 in SSAC play getting to 30 wins the in just 38 games which is the fastest a Knights team has reached 30 wins since joining the NAIA in 2014. The Wildcats are now 20-15 on the season and 9-8 in SSAC play. Colby Owens, Blake Jackson, and Zach Cornell all homered for the Knights in the games.
Game 1 had the Knights jump tan early lead with a run in the first and second while the Wildcats got 1 in the second to trail 2-1. Robbie Hanlon singled and went to second on an error then scored when Blake Jackson reached on an error by the shortstop in the 1st. In the second, Colby Owens hit his first home run on the season for a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats took the lead in the bottom of the 4th with a 3-run home run by Jack Surber, his 6th of the season. The Knights answered with 3 in the 5th as RBI singles from Jacob Durant, Owens, and Dayton Beasley put the Knights back in the lead 5-4. Zach Cornell gave the Knights a couple of insurance runs with a 2-run home run in the 6th, his 7th of the season. Preston Sparks started the game for the Knights and got the win going 4.2 innings with 1 strike out, 2 walks, 4 earned runs, and 5 hits allowed. Logan Carter earned the save pitching 2.1 innings with just 2 hits, a walk, and 3 strike outs for his 2nd save of the season while Sparks is now 3-2 on the season.
Game 2 had the Knights 4-0 lead through the first 5 innings as starter Jason Gifford cruised through the first 5 for the Knights. Gifford went 5.2 innings allowing 6 hits, 4 earned runs, a walk, and 9 strike outs with 4 hits and 4 runs scored in the 6th before Devan Harriman came in to replace Gifford. The Knights scored first in the 2nd with an RBI reached on error by Bucky McGlamrey and MJ Rookard scored an additional run on the error. In the 3rd, Blake Jackson scored on Rookard's double for a 3-0 lead. The Knights went up 4-0 on an RBI single by Rookard in the 5th. After the Wildcats tied the game in the 6th, Jackson hit his 11th home run of the season to put the Knights up 5-4. Harriman gave up his only run in the bottom of the 6th tying the score back at 5. In the top of the 8th, Trent Nash had a 2-run double to take the lead back at 7-5 and scored on Cornell's single for an 8-5 lead. Harriman got the final 3 outs and earned the win to move to 5-0 with 3.1 innings pitched allowing an earned run, a walk, and 4 hits.
The same two teams will meet in game 3 of the series on Saturday the 6th at 1PM in McKenzie, TN.