William Woods Baseball Wins Thriller Against Lyon
FULTON - The William Woods baseball team was able to move on in the American Midwest Conference Tournament staying in the winners bracket in the double elimination tournament, by defeating Lyon College 8-7 in wild fashion.
The offense started swinging the bats well right away, as Greg Hamrock and Stephen Kohler had back-to-back hits, putting runners on second and third for the heart of the order. Zach Nichols got the teams' first RBI of the day with a single to center, scoring Kohler and making it 1-0 Owls. After a Matt Thomas pop out, Jacob Harrison bunted, allowing Kohler to score from third making it 2-0.
The Owls extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the second, as Hamrock grounded into a double play, but that scored pinch-runner Damon Adrian who ran for catcher Derek Fletcher, as he led the inning off with a double down the left field line.
In the third inning, the lead was pushed to 4-0, as Nichols led the inning off with a double and he was able to advance to third on a Thomas groundout. Nichols was then able to score on a Harrison ground out to second base, giving starter Jeremy Ahillen a comfortable lead.
Ahillen had only allowed one hit through two innings, but the Scots finally got on the board in the bottom of the third, scoring two runs on two hits, cutting the Owls lead down to 4-2. The offenses for both teams' went scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, but then in the top of the sixth, the Owls offense got going again.
The Owls put three runs on the board on zero hits, scoring two runs on a wild throw from the Scots catcher and a sacrifice fly from Kohler, extending the lead back up to 7-2. Lyon scored one run in the bottom of the sixth and after six inning of play, the Owls led 7-3. The momentum started to shift back towards Lyon, as the Scots scored three runs on four hits, as now the WWU lead was just 8-7 after seven innings of action.
William Woods scored a very important run in the top of the eighth, as Hamrock grounded into a double play, allowing pinch runner Ethan Browning to score, who ran for Fletcher as the catcher led the inning off with a single.
Matt Thomas who came on in relief in the seventh inning, did not have his best outing, as in the eighth inning the Scots loaded up the bases on the reliable reliever and Head Coach Darren Munns was forced to relieve Thomas with Zach Nichols, who had only appeared once on the mound this season. The first batter Nichols faced was Colt Harmon and Nichols got him to ground into a fielder's choice, allowing Kris Kohlstedt to score from third base, putting the scoreboard at 8-7 WWU.
Nichols then got Blake Rogers to strike out swinging with runners on first and third base, holding the one run lead still for the Owls. After a scoreless top of the ninth inning for WWU, it was up to Nichols and the Owls defense to hold the lead.
Henry Castaigne led the ninth off with a double and after a fly-out by Will Lindsey, Castaigne was able to advance to third on a single by Wesley Roberson, putting the tying run on third and the winning run on first. Nichols then got Kohlstedt to strike out, getting a big second out for William Woods. Roger Glaude forced a walk and now the bases were loaded for Colby Rogers, the best hitter for the Scots.
Nichols wasn't phased striking out the top hitter with the bases loaded, as he picked up the save and secured the 8-7 victory for William Woods. The Owls used six pitchers after Ahillen, who picked up the victory allowing two runs on four hits over four two/third innings pitched. Nichols also led the offense by going 4-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Hamrock (1-for-5) contributed two RBI and two runs scored, while Kohler (2-for-4) added one RBI and one run scored.
The Owls move on in the AMC Tournament and will now play the winner of the Benedictine-Springfield/Missouri Baptist game, on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.