KINGSPORT, Tenn. (May 4, 2017) – The Milligan College baseball team rallied back from deficits of four runs or greater on multiple occasions Thursday afternoon in the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament, but in the end the Buffs fell 16-11 to Bryan College to end its season.
Milligan, which was the seven seed in the AAC tourney, ended the year with a record of 23-29 (11-16 AAC) after dropping a close decision Wednesday against Point, 4-3 and eventually being eliminated from the tourney with Thursday’s loss to Bryan.
Similar to the Buffs’ preceding game in which Milligan lost to Point, the first time out on defense in Thursday’s game proved to be the difference. Bryan jumped out with five runs before Milligan could get the second out of the first inning. During that stretch, the Lions put six straight men on base with a three-run double from Brookes Jones doing most of the damage.
Starter Jacob Littleton was on the hook for the loss until Milligan bounced back with three runs in the bottom half of the first, one run in the second, one run in the fourth, and eventually four runs in the sixth which tied the game 9-9. Juan Vasquez’s two-out, bases-clearing triple to right-center field made it 9-8 in that inning, and senior Justin Pearson made it 9-9 with a single in the next at-bat.
Facing essentially a new game over the last three innings, Bryan once again jumped back out in front in the next half inning. The Lions plated four runs in the top of the seventh followed by three more in the top of the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Cameron Sauls, who was brought in to start the seventh, suffered the loss despite giving up only one earned run (four total).
Senior Nate Clifton led the Buffs at the plate with a 4-for-5 effort and scoring four times. Clayton Conner (3-for-6), Bryan Soto (3-for-5) and Pearson (3-for-5) each finished with three hits, and Andrew Copas (2-for-5), Jascanel Ferreras (2-for-6) and Vasquez (2-for-6) each finished with two hits. Vasquez earned four RBI’s.