By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
T.J. Brockway was a double short of the cycle, Devin Smith and Ryan Johnson each rapped out three hits and Tyler Coyle and Tim Leather turned in strong performances on the mound as the Concord University Mountain Lions defeated the Ohio Valley University Fighting Scots 16-5, Friday afternoon at Anderson Field.
“T.J. is a special case because T.J. would be one of the best hitters in anyone’s lineup,” said Concord head coach Andrew Wright. “The problem is he is at a position where we have got two really good guys as well.
“T.J. did exactly what I have been telling him to do, ‘When you get your opportunity, make the most of it.’ A guy goes out and has a game like that, it’s hard to take him out of the lineup. When he is on he is one of our best hitters and he knows that. He and I talked about that before the game. I’m proud of him to come in and do the job he did.”
Concord got on the board in the bottom of the first when Smith reached on an infield single, stole second, went to third when the throw sailed into centerfield, and scored on Bret Blevins’ ground out.
Ohio Valley went ahead in the third. Max Brown reached on a one-out error, stole second and scored on Marlon Bellmas’ hit to right. Bellmas later scored on Cody Morris’ single to left to give the Fighting Scots the lead.
CU pulled even in the bottom of the third on a solo home run to left by Brockway.
A single run by OVU in the top of the fifth gave them their only lead of the game. Bellmas got aboard on a two-out hit and scored on Morris’ double. The Fighting Scots lead was short-lived however, as Concord came out smoking in the bottom of the sixth.
Smith singled and Blevins moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Smith came home on an error. Two more errors put runners on second and third with one out before Johnston delivered a two-run single to put the Lions ahead 5-3. Jerrod Groves reached on a bunt single and Brockway drove both Johnston and Groves home with a single.
Coyle, meanwhile was mowing his way through the Ohio Valley lineup until he faced a bit of a snag in the top of the seventh. Doubles by Logan Dan and Tyler Wharton and another hit by Morris gave the Fighting Scots two runs, and bringing home two runs for OVU.
Tim Leather came on for Concord and ended the inning.
Coyle worked six-and-two-third innings, gave up five runs on nine hits and struck out nine batters.
“They (Coyle and Leather) both did very well,” Wright said. “The thing about Coyle is sometimes I get a little greedy with him because he is so good at making pitches when he needs to make big pitches. I’ve always had confidence that he’s going to make big pitches, regardless of the situation, but when they strung two hits together I had to go to Tim (Leather), who is one of our best guys out of the bullpen.”
The Lions struck for a single run in the seventh against OVU reliever Raymond Morris, who entered at the beginning of the frame in relief of starter Zach Heath who gave up seven runs, but only one earned, on six hits. It was Smith who singled, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Blevins’ sacrifice fly to right.
The eighth was another big inning for Concord against another OVU pitcher Adam Woods. Hits by Johnston and Joe Camp put runners on the corners. Groves’ double to right scored two and a later triple by Brockway scored two more. Joey Miller added to the run production with a two-run homer to left. When the dust had settled Concord had touched home plate eight times in the inning and held a commanding 16-5 lead.
Leather sat OVU down in order in the ninth and Concord came away with a victory to extend its winning streak to three and its record to 15-13 overall and 10-4 in the WVIAC.
The game was the third in two days on the CU campus for the Mountain Lions. Wright explained what the team did the last few days when the campus was inundated by snow.
“Seventy percent of the time we spent together was getting the field ready and 30 percent was making sure we got in and got some swinging in the cages,” Wright commented.
“We moved two inches of snow off the outfield on Tuesday, an inch of snow on Wednesday and then an inch of snow Thursday morning before we played. I don’t look out the window, see snow and say, ‘We’ve got to shut it down.’ I am looking for a way to play. Otherwise we are going to be without opportunities to play and win games.”
The Mountain Lions and Fighting Scots play a twinbill today at Anderson Field with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
— Contact Bob Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org
At Anderson Field
Ohio Valley...............002 010 200 — 5 10 5
Concord..................101 005 18x — 16 15 1
Heath, R. Morris (7), Woods (8), Reyes (8) and S. Morris. Coyle, Leather (7) and Brockway. W-Coyle, L-Heath, S-Leather. HR - J. Miller, R. Johnston