KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Union had several opportunities to try to rally, but all efforts were in vain as Bluefield (Va.) held on for the 4-2 victory Tuesday to advance to the 2010 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game.
Union is 38-16 overall and will have to wait and see if it will qualify for the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
Bluefield (38-13 overall) will play Tennessee Wesleyan at 11 a.m. Wednesday to the title and an automatic berth to the national tournament.
The Bulldogs outhit the Rams 11-8 but stranded a total of 12 runners on base. Bluefield left eight. With the exception of the eighth inning, Union left at least one runner on base in every inning.
Once again, Jonathan Riddle (Eighty Eight, Ky.) led the Bulldog offensive attack from the nine-hole spot in the lineup. The sophomore catcher went 3-for-4 with a RBI. In the two games Tuesday, he went 5-for-7 with five RBIs.
Down 1-0 in bottom of the second, Riddle singled in Troy Sitton (Cobden, Ill.) to tie the game.
It remained knotted at 1-1 until the fourth when Bluefield had runners on the corners with two outs. Union starter Jacob Scalf (Barbourville, Ky.) was called for a balk, allowing the Rams' second run to score.
Bluefield added a run in the fifth to stretch the margin to 3-1.
The Rams tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Devin Good reached on an error and later scored on Ryan Lambert's single to left.
Down 4-1 in the ninth with no one on and two outs, Ryan Satterlee (Youngstown, Ohio) doubled and Brian Mouton (Oakland, Calif.) walked, giving the Bulldogs life. Brandon Hedrick (Corbin, Ky.) followed with a single to drive in a run, making it 4-2. However, the rally ended there as Sitton grounded out to second to end the game.
Satterlee finished the game 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored, while Mouton went 2-for-4. Scalf suffered the loss as he allowed three runs, two earned on five hits and one walk with four strikeouts in four-plus innings of work.
For Bluefield, Jeremiah McMillian led the way in going 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Good was 1-for-5 but scored twice. David Gibson picked up the win, lasting 5 2/3 innings and giving up one earned run on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts.