BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - It was no joking matter for No. 17 Union as it took the decisive game of the three-game set over visiting No. 23 Taylor (Ind.), winning 12-2 in a run-ruled, seven-inning contest.
The Bulldogs (23-7 overall, 10-1 Appalachian Athletic Conference) belted a season-high three home runs with Brandon Hedrick (Corbin, Ky.) launching two solo four-baggers and Brian Mouton (Oakland, Ky.) blasting a three-run shot.
The loss drops Taylor to 20-8 overall.
Union returns to conference play Friday and Saturday when it visits rival Tennessee Wesleyan. The nine-inning game is set for 2 p.m. Friday with Saturday's doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m.
The Bulldogs grabbed the early lead in the second when Hedrick led off the frame by sending the first pitch he saw over the right-center field wall. However, Taylor evened the score in the top of the third with a Taylor Luna solo home run.
In the bottom of the third, Union had the bases loaded with two outs when Ryan Satterlee (Youngstown, Ohio) scored on a passed ball. Troy Sitton (Cobden, Ill.) followed with a two-run single to give the Bulldogs a 4-1 advantage.
After tacking on two runs in the fourth, Union exploded for five runs in the fifth to make it an 11-1 contest. Sitton and Demetrius Davis (Marietta, Ga.) each provided a run-scoring double, while Mouton capped the rally with a three-run home run to make it a 10-run game.
Hedrick led off the sixth with a solo home run to up the margin to 12-1 in Union's favor.
Ryan Otis lined a run-scoring double in the seventh to pull the Trojans within 12-2, but they could cut prolong the game as the Bulldogs captured the win.
Union and Taylor split a doubleheader Wednesday with Union taking the opener 4-2 and Taylor the nightcap 8-4.
Mouton finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs, while Sitton went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Hedrick finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Drew Chamberlain (Cumberland, Ky.) tossed the final three innings to collect the win, improving to 3-0 on the season. He allowed one earned run on three hits and one walk with two strikeouts. Blaine Adams (Kansas City, Mo.) got the start and went four innings, giving up one earned run on three hits, three walks and one hit batter while fanning three.
Jordan Coffey was the lone Trojan with multiple hits as he went 2-for-3. However, Luna and Otis collected the RBIs for Taylor.
Chris Howell suffered the loss as he surrendered five runs, four earned, on six hits, two walks and one hit batter to go with two strikeouts. He drops to 3-1 on the year.