CMU's Zellner Leads Baseball to Split with Evangel
SPRINGFIELD, MO - Central Methodist's Jesse Zellner hit a three-run homer to secure a 6-2 game-one Heart of America Athletic Conference baseball victory at Evangel (Mo.) on Friday at Crusader Field. The Eagles fell 8-7 in game two, snapping a season-high 10-game win streak, but the Green and Black maintain a two-game lead over the Crusaders for first place overall in the HAAC and Eastern Division.
Zellner gave Central Methodist (20-8, 16-4 HAAC) a 1-0 lead in game one in the top of the second inning. He led off by reaching base on an Evangel (29-14, 14-6 HAAC) fielding error and scored four batters later on a Crusaders' throwing error.
After Shane Lowe added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth, Zellner crushed his fifth bomb of the season over the right field fence, making the score 5-0. After Mike Allen's RBI single in the seventh increased the difference to six runs, Evangel came back with two runs in the bottom of the frame on a Central Methodist error and Christian Maciel RBI single to right. However, HAAC Pitcher of the Year candidate Drew Greiwe put out the flames by inducing a ground out to end the game.
Greiwe (7-0) went the distance for the win, allowing two unearned runs on four hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts.
Daniel Peters, Neal DeMartin and T.J. Singh each had two hits for the Eagles.
Pitcher Koby Gaddis (1-4) took the loss, giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits in five innings.
The Crusaders had five errors in the loss.
The Crusaders never had a lead in game two until a bottom of the seventh inning on a game-winning single by Jacob Childers. The Crusaders trailed by one in the frame and tied the game on a bases-loaded single by Maciel.
Zellner, Singh and DeMartin had three consecutive RBI hits in the first inning to give Central Methodist a 3-0 cushion. The Crusaders answered back with three runs in the fourth on three consecutive RBI singles.
The Eagles regained the upper hand 6-3 in the fifth with RBI doubles by Mike Wagner and Zellner and a Singh RBI single to right. Nathan Jones hit a two-run homerun to center in the bottom of the inning to trim Evangel's deficit to one.
The Crusaders tied the game at six in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single to left field. After Wagner scored in the top of the seventh on a fielder's choice, Evangel rallied with two runs in the bottom of the frame to end the Eagles' six-game win streak at Crusader Field.
Wagner was 3-for-4 at the plate in game two with one RBI and three runs scored. Peters, Zellner and Singh each had two hits.
Nathan Huckaby (4-0) recorded the win on the mound with two innings of relief, allowing one earned run on two hits while walking three. Sam Garrison made the start but got a no-decision, giving up six earned runs on 11 hits in five innings.
Relief pitcher Colby Stack (0-1) suffered the defeat, allowing two earned runs on three hits without recording an out. Rhett Quinlan started the contest but took a no-decision, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits in six innings.
Both teams conclude the four-game series with a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT.