WWU Baseball Salvages Final Day Split with Park
PARKVILLE, MO -- Behind a nine-strikeout performance from Adam Brush, the William Woods University baseball team salvaged a 9-7 win in the series finale against Park University. The Owls nearly scratched out a win in the opening game of the doubleheader as well, falling 5-7.
After giving up three runs in the bottom of the first inning, WWU responded with a pair of runs of their own. Derek Fletcher opened up with a single to left, with Brian Carr putting runners in scoring position as he belted a double to right-center, advancing Justin Elmore - courtesy-running for Fletcher - to third. A walk to Tyler Galloway loaded the bases, with Derek McCawley driving in Elmore with a single through the hole at short after Damon Adrian struck out. Matt Thomas grounded to first for the second out, but the ball was hit sharply enough that Park had no play at the plate and Carr scored. Unfortunately the Owls couldn't continue the rally, despite Robert Butvin drawing a walk to reload the bases.
Park responded with a run in the bottom of the second to push the lead back to 2-4, but WWU leveled the score in the top of the fourth, as Jacob Harrison atoned for his groundout in the second with a 2-RBI double.
The Pirates would open up the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs - two charged to Jon Hecht - with the Owls only able to pull one back in the top of the sixth.
William Woods threatened in the top of the seventh as well, putting runners on first and second, but McCawley flied out to end the game.
Kyle Burns took the loss for the Owls in relief for Hecht.
The Owls looked to be in a bit of trouble in the series finale, as they were unable to take advantage of a Park error in the top of the first then allowed five runs in the bottom of the second, but after WWU pushed across a run in the top of the third, Brush settled in and retired Park in order in the bottom of the third.
The swing in momentum proved to be enough for the WWU offense, as the Owls pushed across five runs in the top of the fourth to take a 6-5 lead, as Butvin led off the inning with a double, scoring on a single by Parker Watkins. WWU would load the bases, as Chris Fletcher was hit by a pitch and Blake Wilson blooped a single to right. Elmore pushed across another run as he was safe on the fielder's choice to second, with Watkins scoring as Wilson was tagged en route to second. A Derek Fletcher single scored Chris Fletcher, with a sacrifice squeeze bunt pushing Elmore across from third. A Carr single finished the scoring, pushing the Pirates starter from the game, but Butvin wasn't able to repeat his leadoff heroics after a walk to McCawley, flying out to right to strand two runners.
The Owls added insurance runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, and would need every bit of it as Park collected a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh. The home run would chase Brush from the game, but after Trevor Manis faced one batter, Adrian would come in to close out the game. He drew a pair of ground outs before a dominating at-bat, striking Spencer Gearhart out on three straight pitches.
Brush picked up his seventh win of the season, with Adrian earning his first save of the campaign. The Owls (27-17, 10-10 AMC) return home, hosting MidAmerica Nazarene on Tuesday. First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 6 p.m.