By Rick Sheek
Tough afternoon at Anglin Field for Milligan College’s baseball team.
The Buffs were swept by Tennessee Wesleyan in an Appalachian Athletic Conference doubleheader on Saturday. The Bulldogs rolled out of town after recording 9-4 and 8-3 victories.
“They’re a good team,” Milligan coach Nathan Meade said. “You play a good team, you’ve got to make routine plays. You can’t give good teams outs.
“I don’t think we had a great day offensively by any means, but you play a good team like that you cannot make errors. You’ve got to make the routine plays. It’s as simple as that. You give a good team outs, and they’re going to capitalize on them.”
Wesleyan (19-5, 5-0) surged to a 4-0 advantage its first at-bat, highlighted by a Taylor Oldham three-run homer. The Buffs (11-13, 2-3) bounced back, with senior center fielder Wesley Jones leading off with a triple before getting singled in by sophomore shortstop Luke Kirk.
The Bulldogs built a 9-1 lead by the fifth inning. In the sixth, Milligan junior designated hitter Tyree Jeffries roped a two-run single.
The seventh saw Kirk deliver a run-scoring triple. He batted 4 for 4.
Ethan Fleenor, a sophomore, hurled six innings for the Buffs. He was touched for eight hits, eight earned runs and fanned one with three walks.
In one inning of relief, senior southpaw Josh Hullett allowed a hit. The Buffs committed three errors.
Odham was 2 for 5 with five RBIs. Jake Stone went 2 for 4.
Left-hander Josh Culler lasted six innings for Wesleyan. He yielded seven hits, three earned runs, struck out eight and walked one.
Zach Fleshman closed in surrendering one hit and one earned run. He fanned two and walked one.
Jordan Guida’s two-run double put the Bulldogs up in the second inning of the finale. A solo home run from Anthony Boix, a run-scoring double from Oldham and a two-run homer from Guida pushed the advantage to 6-0 in the third.
In the fourth, senior third baseman Kyle Kolat plated a runner for Milligan. Jones had singled and senior first baseman Cory Hilton had doubled.
The Buffs cut the deficit to 6-3 in the fifth. Joe Purus, the junior right fielder, led off with a double and advanced on a wild pitch.
Ryan White, the senior second baseman, ripped a run-scoring single and freshman pinch-hitter Brandon Malone drove in a run.
Wesleyan completed the onslaught in the seventh. Stephen Branca slapped a run-scoring single and Drew Levi tagged a sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs’ Jeremy Fitzgerald ended the nightcap by striking out the side. In going the distance he gave up six hits, three earned runs, fanned five and walked one.
Boix and Branca each batted 3 for 4. Oldham was 2 for 3, while Guida went 2 for 4.
Milligan junior Sean Robinson was on the mound three innings. Her served up seven hits, yielded five earned runs, struck out one and walked one.
Derek Long fired the final four innings. The junior was touched for five hits, two earned runs and fanned one.
White batted 2 for 2. Freshman catcher Nathan Millsap gunned down a runner attempting to steal in the fifth.
“I don’t think we really played well,” Meade said. “I don’t know how we’re not ready to play. I guess that’s my fault; we’re not ready to play.
“As big a series as this is, you’ve got to come to the park ready to play. I just don’t think we brought our ‘A’ game today — I really don’t.”