Baseball team picks up wins over weekend

Junior Josh Cyr prepares for a pick-off attempt during March 4’s game against West Alabama. He and the rest of the Lions got off to a good start in conference play, winning two out of three games over the weekend.

UNA baseball opened conference play by taking two of three in a weekend series at home against the University of West Alabama and sweeping Harding on March 6.

The Lions took the first game of a double-header March 3 behind a strong showing from pitcher Johnny Hornbuckle. UNA opened the scoring in the third inning after a miscommunication between the short stop and second baseman for UWA allowed a fly ball to drop for a single for Andrew Almon. Base runners gave the UWA pitchers fits all day long. With just one out, Michael Schmidt was walked for UNA to load the bases.

A single by Josh Doyle scored two runs followed by a double by Jake Sloan that drove in one more. A double by Josh Carpenter brought two more runs in.

The third inning was a big one for UNA, but it would be the only offensive production all game for the Lions.

In the sixth inning, UWA threatened with men on the corners. A throwing error for UNA allowed the first run for UWA. Another error for UNA in the seventh inning kept a UWA rally alive, which lead to two more runs. A big strikeout for Hornbuckle got UNA out of the inning still leading 5-3.

Brantley Claunch and Ben Seabrook came in for relief duties and did their jobs. UNA escaped a late surge from West Alabama to get the win.

Michael Watkins took the bump for UNA in the second game March 3. Early on, UWA tried giving the Lions a dose of their own medicine by playing small ball and opting for sacrifice bunts and smart base running.

In the third inning, Watkins struggled to find the strike zone, which resulted in him walking in a run. But just when UWA seemed to be putting its foot on the gas, Watkins got West Alabama to ground into a double play to end the inning. That composure from Watkins and the UNA infield put out whatever fire UWA had going in game two.

The second game of the double header saw UNA continue its trend of base-hitting the opponent to death and being opportunistic on the base paths. It seemed as though UWA’s pitchers struggled anytime the Lions got men on base.

A two-run, monster home run launch to left-center field by J.P. LaMunyon followed by a double by Josh Cyr put the Lions up 7-2 in the bottom of the sixth. A late home run by UWA did little for the outcome, as UNA took game two by the final score of 7-3.

March 4, Chad Boughner took the mound for the Lions. He struggled early on and had difficulty finding a groove. In the fourth inning, he gave up a home run, which gave West Alabama a 3-2 lead.

Josh Cyr took one yard in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game back up at 3. The scoring would end there for the Lions, as UWA took the game by three by a score of 6-3.

“I guess the good thing is that we won two of the three games this weekend, and they were conference games, but we have got to get better,” said head coach Mike Keehn. “We are going to get better.

“When we play teams like Harding again or West Florida, our defense cannot make the errors that we did today. Our offense is just not good enough right now for us to make those kinds of mistakes.”

On Mar. 6 the Lions played a double-header against Harding, who they dropped both games against them the week before.

In Game One the Lions got down 7-1 in the fifth inning before making it 7-6 in the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the seventh a lead-off walk to LaMunyon set up a walk-off home run by Andrew Almon giving the Lions a 8-7 victory.

In Game Two the Lions got behind again just like in the first game trailing 4-2 going in the sixth inning.

The Lions started the inning with a lead-off single by Michael Schmidt. Schmidt then reached second on a fielder’s choice. Sloan walked, advanced to second on a passed ball while Schmidt stole third.

Cyr then walked to load the bases up and LaMunyon reached on an error by the short stop driving in one.

Josh Carpenter then came to the plate and delivered a three RBI double to give the Lions a 7-4 lead going into the seventh.

Harding added two runs in the seventh before Ben Seabrook closed the game out for good giving the Lions a 16-5 record.

The Lions will play at home this weekend against West Florida with a double-header on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. and a game on Sunday starting at 1 p.m.