WINGATE, N.C. – The Anderson University baseball team opened a three-game South Atlantic Conference weekend series with an 11-1 loss to Wingate, Friday night at Ron Christopher Stadium and Plyler Athletic Field.
Anderson slipped to 5-11 overall and 1-3 in the conference with its third consecutive setback, while Wingate (9-8, 1-0 SAC) has won seven of its last eight outings.
Right-handed junior Ryan Owens fell to 1-3 on the season after allowing nine earned runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. He struck out five and walked three.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Anderson junior William Thomas led off the game with a single and moved into scoring position when classmate Tyler Miller grounded out to the left side of the infield. Two batters later, Thomas crossed the plate to give the Trojans an early 1-0 lead when junior Michael Rochester reached on an error and the Bulldogs followed by throwing the ball away for their second error on the play.
Junior Zach McIlroy led off the second frame by ripping a single back up the middle, but the Trojans were unable to take advantage, as Wingate starting hurler Brandon Donahue regrouped to retire the next three AU hitters.
Owens matched his counterpart on the mound by retiring the Bulldogs in order in the bottom of the inning, while notching back-to-back strikeouts.
Both teams went down in order in the third inning, while Wingate posted nine runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Bulldogs sent 12 batters to the plate. Junior Ty Andrus got things started by poking a single to left-center and promptly swiped second base, getting the tying run in scoring position. After Owens fanned the next Bulldog batter, senior third baseman Colby Barnette reached on a fielder's choice and sophomore catcher Micah Goodwin drew a walk to load the bases with just one out. The Bulldogs' Andrew Llewellyn knotted the score by beating out an infield single and bringing home Andrus from third. With the bases full and still one out, the Bulldogs came through with back-to-back RBI-singles to claim a 3-1 advantage and eventually boosted their lead to eight runs.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 10-1 with a solo run in the fifth frame, while AU loaded the bases in the top of the seventh when Rochester was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and sophomore Carson Barrett followed with a walk. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and Jackson Strange's walk loaded the bases, but the Trojans were unable to push a run across.
Wingate added a run on a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to set the final score.
The Trojans and Bulldogs are slated to wrap up their conference series with a doubleheader Saturday afternoon. First-pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Ron Christopher Stadium.