All cylinders were clicking for the Bluefield College Rams, Friday afternoon at Bowen Field against the Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders.
Kahlin Villines hit a pair of home runs and drove in six runs, while Zac Russell-Myers picked up a complete game victory in addition to going three-for-five at the plate with two RBIs.
“When you’ve got the No. 15 team in the country coming into your building, we know they are going to score a bunch of runs,” said BC head coach Mike White. “Zac, that’s a great job on his part. You’re not going to slow those guys down too much and he was able to do that. Couldn’t be more pleased with him.”
Following a scoreless first and a top of the second where Russell-Myers sat the Blue Raiders (13-14, 2-5 MSC) down 1-2-3, the Rams’ (19-4, 5-2) bats exploded in the second. Jakob Schober singled, Jacob Wright doubled, Daniel Copeland and Tyler Timmer both got infield hits and that was before an out was recorded. Villines lifted a sac fly to center before Sawyer McLamb, Chris McCollister and Russell-Martin each followed with base hits.
The Rams sent 10 players to the plate, picked up seven hits and took an early 5-0 lead on LWC and its starting pitcher England Smith.
Lindsey Wilson got on the board in the third with an unearned run against Russell-Myers before the Bluefield hit parade once again teed off on Smith in the third.
Wright and Timmer singled and Wright scored on Tyler Lundgren’s single. Enter Villines who hit a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left, a three-run homer that pushed the Bluefield College lead to 9-1. Russell-Myers doubled to the base of the wall in left to bring home the final run of the inning to make it 10-1.
The Blue Raiders managed to score four in the fourth off Russell-Myers as they picked up three singles and got a runner aboard on an error. The big hit was a two-run double by Mark Silva.
The Rams continued their scoring barrage in the forth. Copeland walked and scored on Lundgren’s double to the base of the wall in left. Villines then got his second big knock of the game, this one just inside the left field foul pole, a two-run blast that made it 13-5.
“To be honest, I’ve been struggling and with baseball it’s so easy to get down on yourself,” Villines said. “Coaches see the ability and say, ‘Calm down at the plate.’ I was just seeing the ball good today and I give God all the credit because I am a long way from where I was, to now.”
Russell-Myers remained strong on the bump for BC. He sat LWC down in order in the fifth, hit a better in the sixth and gave up a single in the seventh.
Both teams touched home in the eighth. LWC’s Alexander Bautista hit a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left-center to open the inning. Russell-Myers then retired the next five batters he faced before giving up a two-out single in the ninth. He closed the game by catching Mitchell Osnowitz looking.
Russell-Myers pitched nine innings, scattered nine hits, allowed six runs, four of them earned and struck out eight. He did not walk a batter.
All nine Bluefield batters hit safely in the game, with seven players getting at least two hits apiece.
“We’re a good offensive club. Ain’t nothing else to say, a good offensive club,” White said. “When we come to the ballpark ready to play, like we were today, we can put some numbers on you. Our guys are very talented offensively. We are second in the NAIA in hitting right now.
“They will compete in a game of checkers if it comes down to it and that’s what we want here at Bluefield. When we have those type of blue collar kids it just seems to work for us.”
Smith took the loss as he pitched two-and-two-third innings and allowed nine runs on 11 hits. He did not walk or strike out a batter. Kevin Klaess pitched the final five-and-a-third for Lindsey Wilson. He gave up five runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one.
The two teams complete their three game series this afternoon as they play a doubleheader beginning at 1 o’clock at Bowen Field.
At Bowen Field
Lindsey Wilson......001 400 010 — 6 9 1
Bluefield................055 300 10x — 14 17 2
Smith, Klaess (3) and Morse; Russell-Myers and Lundgren. W-Russell-Myers. L-Smith. HR: LWC - Bautista; BC - Villines (2).