May 19, 2007
On the banks of the Saint Charles River the Bison baseball squad closed out their regular season with a 7-6 heartbreaker to Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon, to drop the series 1-2.
The Dolphins took the lead early with Chuck Opachick, Pete Clifford, Thomas LePage, and Mike McCallister coming across the plate in the first inning. Jacksonville added two more in the fourth inning, scoring Brad Simmons, and Logan James.
Freshman Taylor Merry took the mound for the Bisons and pitched 3.1 innings for the Bisons; striking out two batters. Senior Matt Schnelly pitched two innings of relief allowing only one inherited runner to score, and one hit; and striking out three.
The Bisons exploded into the game in the top of the sixth. Pinch hitter Jared Picchiottino hit a single down the left side, and right fielder Shane Simpkins was hit by a pitch to reach first. A single to center field by second baseman Clay Lehning scored Picchiottino. Catcher Eric Abend singled to second base to load the bases, and third baseman Branden Cadavid, hit a single down the right line to score Simpkins. Left fielder Allen Bolden hit a single down to left field to close out the inning, scoring both Lehning and Abend.
Senior John King would pitch a third of an inning, striking out one, and Junior Chris Burnett pitched two thirds of an inning, allowing no hits and no runs. Sophomore Brandon McClurg would close the game, pitching two innings, only allowing two hits and one run, striking out two.
The Bisons scored two more runs in the top of the ninth. With remaining shortstop Ben Williams reached first on an error by the dolphin first baseman, Casey Bond singled down the right side, and Caleb Joseph was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Shane Simpkins would single down the right line to score both Williams and Joseph.
The Dolphins replied in the bottom by loading the bases. Third baseman Thomas LePage scored the winning run.
The Bisons close out the regular season with a 28-28 overall record, and a 12-15 Atlantic Sun Record. Pitcher Brandon McClurg took the loss to drop to a 4-3 record.
Head coach Jeff Forehand told his team after the loss
"I'm proud of this team that we go down four runs we are not out. It took us some time, but it was great that we were able to pick up six."
"I know nobody wants to loose. I'm as competitive as you guys but, we got accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. 28-28 and in the tournament is great but I'm not settling for that. Us getting the opportunity to play Stetson, the number one seed, and a nationally ranked team that's a tall order but I really look forward to it."
With today's loss the Bisons received the sixth seed in the 2007 A-Sun Championship presented by Progress Energy and will take on the regular season champion and host Stetson University in the first round of the tournament. Game time is set for 6:00 PM CST on Wednesday, May 23 and will be played at Melching Field at Conrad Park in Deland, FL.