Concord Splits vs. Shepherd - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Concord Splits vs. Shepherd

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ATHENS -

he Concord University baseball team split a pair of West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games Wednesday afternoon against Shepherd University. The Mountain Lions rallied from five runs down to win game one 6-5 before falling in extra innings to the Rams in game two, 4-3.

The split keeps Concord's overall record at .500 on the season (11-11) and moves its WVIAC record to 6-3. CU closes out its nine-game homestand 6-3. The Mountain Lions are 9-4 At Anderson Field this season. Shepherd's record now stands at 9-10 overall and 5-1 in league play.

The Mountain Lions were shutout by reigning WVIAC Pitcher of the Week Paul Hvozdovic (3-3) through the opening four innings of game one with the Rams' offense scored the game first five runs to take a seemingly comfortable lead into the bottom of the fifth inning.

However, Concord's offense got going in a big way, adding four runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth on the way to a 6-5 CU victory.

The Maroon and Gray's fifth-inning rally started with a two-run double by freshman catcher Charles Goss that scored freshman designated hitter Joe Camp and senior outfielder Jacob Mays. One batter later, senior outfielder Devin Smith plated Goss and cut Concord's deficit to just one run by belting his third home run of the season.

Concord pulled ahead in the sixth inning off of RBI-hits from junior catcher Brandon Costa and junior outfielder Bret Blevins.

After walking the Rams' leadoff batter, junior pitcher Chris Baker (2-0), who entered the game in the sixth inning, retired three straight hitters to ensure the one-run win. Baker struck out two batters and allowed just one hit and one walk in two innings of work.

The highlight of the final inning was a smooth defensive play by Baker. With a runner on first base and no outs, Baker made a diving catch off of an attempted bunt by Shepherd's Ryan Messina and proceeded to fire a throw off to first base before the base runner could make it back to the bag for the double play.

Smith was 2-for-4 with two RBI and one home run. Mays also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Goss was 1-for-2 with two RBI and one run.

In his first start since Feb. 23, junior pitcher Ryan Weatherholtz received a no decision after allowing three runs, only one earned, on five hits while striking out two batters in four innings.

Coming off of his solid performance at the plate for Concord in the opener, Smith took the mound for the Mountain Lions in the nightcap, going 5.1 innings with four strikeouts and just two runs allowed.

Junior first baseman Joey Miller accounted for two of Concord's five hits in game two in what was a 2-for-4, one-run, one-RBI outing for the Hagerstown, Md. native.

Goss, sophomore second baseman Jerrod Groves and sophomore third baseman Ryan Johnston each came away with one hit with Johnston's being a two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning.

Blevins added a pair of stolen bases in the contest, his 13th and 14th of the year.

Miller struck a single leading to Johnston second homer of the season to give CU the early 2-0 lead after two innings of play.

Shepherd countered with consecutive runs in the fifth and sixth to tie the game before Concord answered back with Miller hitting another single to score Blevins from second. After six innings, Concord led 3-2.

However, Shepherd managed to force extra innings when Chad Murphy doubled down the right field line to bring Mike Lott, who walked to lead off the frame, in the seventh. The Rams scored the eventual game-winning run off of a Brad Coffey sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.

Junior pitcher Dustin Nuckels (0-1) was the pitcher of record for the Mountain Lions in game two. Nuckels allowed one run in 0.2 innings.

Concord returns to action March 23-24 for a three-game series at West Virginia State. The Mountain Lions and Yellow Jackets will play a doubleheader Saturday and a nine inning game Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. both days.