Concord Baseball Splits Home Doubleheader vs. IUP - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Concord Baseball Splits Home Doubleheader vs. IUP

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ATHENS -

The Concord University baseball team split a pair of games against Indiana (Pa.) Saturday behind a power surge that featured two home runs from junior first baseman Joey Miller and a grand slam from senior outfielder Devin Smith. Concord lost game one to IUP, 7-5, before taking game two 11-6.

The split moves Concord's record to 3-5 on the season. Saturday's games were Indiana's first of 2013.

Miller had a standout day from the plate Saturday, combining to go 4-for-7 with three runs scored, eight RBI and two home runs. Smith also recorded a stellar showing with 4-for-8 performance on the day with one run scored and four RBI off of his grand slam in game two.

The Crimson Hawks scored six runs in the first four innings of game one, including a home run by Robbie Zinsmeister in the game's first at-bat, to take an early 2-0 lead. IUP pitcher Stephen Cooke, who had 11 strikeouts, was dominant early as he held Concord hitless until the fourth inning.

Concord rallied in the fourth inning starting with a bunt-single by junior outfielder Bret Blevins followed by senior shortstop Josh Wenger reaching base after being hit by a pitch. With the two runners on, Miller proceeded to belt a bases clearing double to get Concord its first runs of the day.

The Mountain Lions added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to a home run from Miller that scored Wenger, who had walked to lead off the inning, and sophomore third baseman Ryan Johnston making it a 7-5 ballgame by scoring when T.J. Brockway hit into a double play with the bases loaded and no outs.

However, Concord's hopes for a comeback were dashed in the seventh and final inning when IUP reliever Brett Quiggley avoided Miller with a walk and retired three other CU batters to help the Crimson Hawks hold onto the 7-5 win.

Junior pitcher Ryan Weatherholtz (1-1) took the loss on the mound for Concord after giving up nine hits and six runs in 3.1 innings while striking out four IUP batters.

The Mountain Lions' bats were hot to start game two as CU strung together three consecutive base hits with two outs in the first inning en route to an early 2-0 lead. Miller hit an RBI-single that scored Blevins and Wenger scored on an error by IUP's second baseman.

The Crimson Hawks countered with one run in the second before eventually pulling ahead 5-1 with a four-run fifth inning.

Not to be outdone, the Concord offense exploded for three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull to within one run before a five-run sixth inning, after Indiana had scored its final run of the game in the top of the frame, to take a commanding 10-6 lead.

Concord's big innings were products of a three-run home run by Miller in the fifth followed by a RBI-single from Johnston and Smith's grand slam in the sixth.

The four-run lead was more than enough for junior relief pitcher Tim Leather (2-1), who earned the win by giving up no runs and just three hits in 2.2 inning of relief work.

The Mountain Lions added an additional run in the eighth inning off of a sacrifice fly by freshman Charlie Goss that brought Johnston home. Junior relief pitcher Will Zuspan took over for Leather in the ninth inning and was able to ptich out of a two-on, one-out jam to preserve the 11-6 triumph.

Smith was 3-for-5 in game two with four RBI. The trio of Miller, Blevins and Johnston all registered two-hit contests with Blevins scoring three times and Miller adding four RBI.

Starting pitcher Drew Spear received a no decision for Concord. He struck out five batters and allowed six runs in 5.1 innings.

Concord and Indiana (Pa.) will play another doubleheader on Sunday with the first pitch of game one scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at Anderson Field.