STEVENSON, Md. – Visiting Messiah College broke a 6-6 tie with a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth en route to a 9-7 MAC Commonwealth baseball victory over Stevenson University at Sugar Field Friday afternoon.
For Stevenson (17-20, 8-11 MAC Commonwealth), the loss ends their chances at a third straight conference tournament appearance.
Messiah (14-21, 6-13 MAC Commonwealth) staked itself to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and stretched it to 5-1 in the fourth. The Mustangs got a run back in the fourth to make it 5-2 when a single to right by junior Jake Dimon brought in classmate Billy Small, who had reached on a one-out walk.
Stevenson plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth to forge a 5-5 tie. Sophomore Matthew Kerber dropped a double inside the right field line with one out, then after moving to third on a single by junior John D'Aquanno, scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Kevin Kopas. D'Aquanno and Small both scored on a line drive single to center by freshman Mark Terrell.
The Falcons retook the lead with a run in the top of the sixth, before Stevenson again tied the game in the bottom of the frame. Senior Jake Hall doubled with two outs, then after stealing third, scored on a Kerber single to center.
Messiah took the lead for good in the top of the seventh on a home run by Hunter Brindle, then pushed across two more in the eighth to take a 9-6 lead. Stevenson took advantage of two Falcon errors in the eighth to cut the lead to 9-7, and did bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth after Kopas reached on a one-out double, but back-to-back outs ended the game.
Trailing 3-0, Stevenson scored its first run in the first as Hall led off with a double, went to third on a bunt single by Kerber, then scored as D'Aquanno singled to left.
Stevenson outhit Messiah 12-9 and the guests committed three errors, but Mustang pitchers issued seven walks. Kerber finished 3-5 at the plate, while Hall, D'Aquanno and Rhodes each had two hits.
CJ Kilpatrick took the loss, allowing two runs in his inning-plus of relief. Erik Arenberg started and went four frames, allowing six hits and five runs with one strikeout and three walks. Ethan Hess earned the win in relief, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned) in four innings.
Stevenson and Messiah play a noon doubleheader Saturday at Messiah to close out the conference schedule.
Photo courtesy Bill Vanko