CENTRAL – Southern Wesleyan and Bluefield split Saturday’s double-header with the home team winning 2-0 in game one and the Rams taking game two 6-2.
The Warriors still managed to take the weekend series 2-1 after also winning Friday’s game 1-0. This is the first series win for the Warriors (2-1) over the Rams (1-2) in the past four years.
Matt Buss (1-0) struck out nine as the Warriors claimed their second straight over Bluefield 2-0. Buss allowed just four hits and didn’t walk a batter in earning the first win of his SWU career, pitching six innings. Three of those hits came in the second inning as the Rams loaded the bases but Buss got a ground ball to escape. Andrew Howard picked up his second save in as many chances with a scoreless seventh.
In the third the Rams put a runner on third with just one out but Buss struck out the next two batters to end the threat. That started a stretch where Buss retired 11 in a row.
The Warriors got on the board early, scoring a run in the first and the third. Both runs were helped along by errors just like on Friday’s game. Tyler Bice again scored the first run of the game, after a one-out single he moved to second during Stephen Wyatt’s at-bat before scoring on a misplayed grounder by second basemen by Tyler Rome.
SWU scored again in the third as the top of the lineup got things started again. Michael Hyman started the inning with an infield single and promptly stole second. A failed pickoff attempt sent Hyman to third and he later scored on Stephen Wyatt’s RBI double down the left field line.
Bluefield finally got into the scoring column, touching up starter Tim O’Callaghan for four runs and seven hits in 3.2 innings of work. The Rams scored three in the second to take a 3-1 lead and added another in the fourth, knocking O’Callaghan out of the game.
The Warriors actually got on the board first, scoring in the bottom of the first on Joe Henderson’s ground out as Tyler Bice came home to score. Bice walked earlier in the inning. The Warriors left two men on base in the first and another in the second but wouldn’t leave a runner on board the rest of the way as Ryan Shockey settled into a groove for the Rams.
Shockey struck out four in the complete game win, allowing just six hits and two walks. Five of the six hits came in the first two innings and retired the final 10 batters in order.
The Warriors cut the Ram lead to 3-2 with a run in the bottom of the second. After loading the bases with three straight singles a ground ball double play brought home the second run of the game for the Warriors.
Bluefield added runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings to make the final tally 6-2.
The Warriors will be back in action on Friday and Saturday, welcoming in Toccoa Falls for a three game weekend series. First pitch on Friday is set for 4 p.m. with Saturday’s double-header beginning at noon.