Miles Golden Bears Split Season Opener With Morehouse

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Miles Sports Information

 

OXFORD, Ala. – With the 2017 SIAC championship trophy safely nestled away, the Miles baseball team began its title defense Thursday with a non-conference doubleheader against Morehouse at Choccolocco Park.

The Golden Bears jumped out to early leads in both games but after holding on for a 7-4 win in the opener, the Maroon Tigers grabbed the nightcap with a seventh-inning run for a 6-5 win. Brandon Conner and Kolby Brannon each hit home runs, Christopher Elias and Andrew Datcher were solid in their starts on the mound, and several newcomers did well in their first collegiate action.

Game 1: Miles 7, Morehouse 4

Elias (1-0) scattered eight hits and gave up three runs in five innings, striking out four, to earn the win but it was the return of Dylan Johnson that stole the show on the mound.

Johnson, who tossed just three innings last year before being shelved with an arm injury, came on to start the seventh inning with the Golden Bears holding a three-run lead. But after allowing the first two runners to reach base, the Maroon Tigers looked poised to ruin his return to action. But the senior right hander caught Roosevelt Barnes looking before throwing pitches past Auliver Astin and Derrick Odom to earn the save.

Morehouse scored in the top of the first but Miles tied it in the bottom of the frame on a Peyton Logan run-scoring single. But Conner put the Golden Bears ahead for good with a two-run blast to left off Maroon Tigers starter Anthony Dodd (0-1). Alex Bentley and Conner drove in runs in the third to extend the lead to 5-1 and chase Dodd. The Maroon Tigers would get those runs back in the fourth but Jacob Bisharat – who replaced Logan after he was injured – knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly. Morehouse would cut the deficit to 6-4 in the top of the sixth but a two-out single but Bentley knocked in Bisharat with an insurance run before the final-inning theatrics.

Game 2: Morehouse 6, Miles 5

The Maroon Tigers scored an unearned run in the top of the seventh, then got the final two outs with the tying run on second base to secure the split.

Freshman reliever Will Cantey (0-1) entered in the sixth inning after back-to-back two-strike, two out singles by Brannon and Roderick Ransom had given the Golden Bears a 5-3 lead. But with one out and two runners on, Grant Bennett stroked a two-run double into the gap in left center to tie the game. In the seventh, Langston Harris – who was pinch-running for Jared Maner after he reached when Bisharat mishandled a throw from shortstop – scored on a one-out single by Astin to take the lead.

Jason Davis (1-0) began the bottom of the seventh by striking Bentley out on three pitches. But Brannon (single) and Ransom (walk) reached and Miles looked as if it were going to at least tie the game. But Davis struck Conner out swinging and Trevor Bates grounded out to second base to end the game.

The ending took some of the luster off the first career start by Datcher, who allowed five hits and three runs in five innings. He got a quick lead in the first when Bisharat singled in Ryan Bargery but he found himself trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the third. That was before Brannon launched a two-run bomb to give Miles a 3-2 advantage. But that lead would not last long. With one out in the top of the fourth, Datcher made his only real mistake. He hung a breaking pitch to Barnes and it was quickly deposited over the fence in left field to tie the game at 3.

Next up: Stillman

The Golden Bears are set to open their home slate against Stillman, which is scheduled for three games. The teams will play a single game on Friday, with first pitch set for 1 p.m..

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