KINGSPORT — Fourteen hours after a bowling shoe ugly loss to Tennessee Wesleyan, Milligan’s AAC baseball tournament run came to an abrupt halt.
The Buffs, plagued by early errors, saw Reinhardt (Ga.) work through six pitchers with a 15-hit outing in a 10-3 losers’ bracket loss Thursday at Hunter Wright Stadium.
“We came out flat,” said Milligan coach Nathan Meade. “It was a tough loss last night. I don’t think we really rebounded from it. You know how it is in tournament baseball, man, you’ve got to have short-term memory. We just couldn’t get anything going today.”
Milligan committed four errors in the game, squandering the seven hits of offense it created.
“That kind of did us in for the tournament,” Meade said. “Altogether we had about 16 errors in three games total. You can’t get to tournament ball and make those kind of mistakes — mistakes we didn’t make all year. It just kind of snowballed on us.”
Two errors and a wild pitch keyed a three-run second inning to open scoring for the Eagles.
Milligan used a double from Kyle Kolat and a sac-fly from Joe Purus to cut into the lead, but the Eagles mustered two more runs in the fifth and Milligan’s offense was unable to strike against starter Sean Felt.
Walks and in-the-gap singles provided the dagger for Reinhardt, who worked through three pitchers in the seventh inning with four additional runs.
Milligan added a run in the seventh and eighth but it was too little, too late.
Four players tallied multiple hits to lead the visiting Eagles offensively.
Phillip Bates was 4-for-5 on the day with two runs scored, while Zach Kles hit a triple and double in a 3-for-6 effort with three runs scored and an RBI. Jean Gonzalez and Tucker Adams each went 2-for- 4 with a pair of runs with Gonzalez added two ribbies.
Milligan spread out its seven hits with Purus and Dustin Clawson driving in two of the three runs.
Felt picked up the win in a six-inning effort, allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits with three strikeouts.
Sean Robinson, through six innings of his own, allowed five runs, none of which were earned, on seven hits in the loss.
The Buffaloes lose six seniors off this year’s club including local product Cory Hilton, Tyler Walker, Wesley Jones, Ryan White, Josh Hullet and Kolat.
“We’re grateful to our seniors for what they’ve done for us and what they’ve meant to us,” Meade said. “I wish them the best as they move on. It’s time to go to work. We’re going to see a lot of new faces next year. We’re going to go to work and get out there and finish recruiting. We’re going to be stronger next year.
Milligan ends its season with a 26-27 record while Reinhardt was slated to face Tennessee Wesleyan in later in the evening with its year at stake.
Reinhardt 030 020 410 — 10 15 1
Milligan 010 000 11x — 3 7 4
Felt, Waters (7) and Smith. Robinson, Walker (7), Wilson (7), Fleenor (7), Wright (8), Hullet (9) and Clawson. 3B—Reinhardt (Kles). 2B—Reinhardt 2 (Adams, Kles, Kolat), Milligan (Kolat).