BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union locked up at least a share of the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular-season championship Saturday with a 12-2 win over Bryan (Tenn.), completing the three-game series sweep.
The Bulldogs are 36-13 overall and 20-6 in conference play. With Tennessee Wesleyan losing 8-5 at UVa-Wise Friday, Union is guaranteed at least a share of the regular-season crown. Should Tennessee Wesleyan lose one of the two games with UVa-Wise today, Union will win the title outright. However, if Tennessee Wesleyan takes both games of the twinbill, Union will make up its game at Reinhardt (Ga.) later this week and a win will give Union the championship.
The regular-season championship is the first for the Bulldogs since 1994 when they won the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The loss drops Bryan to 20-33 overall and 11-16 in the AAC as its losing streak is now up to eight games.
If they do not have to play at Reinhardt, the Bulldogs will next play in the AAC Tournament Saturday in Kingsport, Tenn.
Union received a solid pitching performance out of sophomore Drew Chamberlain (Cumberland, Ky.), who allowed two earned runs on five hits and two walks with a season-high five strikeouts as he improved to 4-0 on the year.
Meanwhile, the only thing that slowed the Bulldogs en route to the 10-run win was a 58-minute rain delay when a heavy downpour hit during the top of the seventh, forcing the tarp to be pulled after the half-inning with Union up 9-2.
Once the tarp was pulled an play resumed, Union quickly put three runs up on the board to wrap up the 12-2 decision for the series sweep.
Union outhit Bryan only 14-6, but the Bulldogs benefited from six walks and four hit batters. No player base exemplified this than Michael Adams (Tega Kay, S.C.) who went 1-for-1 with two runs scored as he walked twice and hit by a pitch twice.
The Lion defense also helped the Bulldogs out by committing four errors, resulting in four unearned runs.
Unlike in yesterday's doubleheader, Union scored first as it tallied two runs in the first inning. Brian Mouton (Oakland, Calif.) and Troy Sitton (Cobden, Ill.) each collected RBIs as the Bulldogs drew first blood.
Union added a run in each the second and third innings, stretching the margin to 4-0. In the fourth, Ryan Satterlee (Youngstown, Ohio) scored on an error and Sitton picked up his second RBI of the game as the Bulldogs built a 6-0 lead.
After a scoreless fifth, Bryan finally found its way home in the sixth as Steven Brown roped a two-run single,cutting the margin to 6-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Union garnered three unearned runs to make it a 9-2 contest. Jonathan Riddle (Eighty Eight, Ky.) and Demetrius Davis (Marietta, Ga.) each had run-scoring hits during the rally.
The rains game in the seventh, and after the near hour-long delay, Union rallied for three runs for the 12-2 win. Tyler Martin (Corbin, Ky.) roped a two-run double and Josh Longbrake (St. Cloud, Fla.) ended the game with a RBI single.
Longbrake led Union offensively in going 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Davis, Satterlee and Mouton each had two hits. Sitton and Martin each line a hit and drove in two runs.
Lucas Henson (Corbin, Ky.) tossed the final two innings, allowing no runs on one hit and no walks with two strikeouts.
For Bryan, Brown led the way at the plate in going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Adam Polston dropped to 5-6 on the year as he allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits, four walks and three hit batters with one strikeout.
Union burned up the base paths with seven stolen bases with Satterlee swiping three and Longbrake two. For the weekend, the Bulldogs stole 17 in as many attempts.
The game was the final home game for the Bulldogs' eight seniors: Martin, Satterlee, Henson, Matt Warren (Barbourville, Ky.), Jason Parsons (Hamilton, Ohio), Sitton, Adam Snyder (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Matt Modlinski (St. Charles, Ill.).