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Baseball - Fri, Mar. 29, 2013

DAYTON, Tenn. - Union head baseball coach Bart Osborne collected his 400th career victory Friday as the Bulldogs split an Appalachian Athletic  Conference doubleheader at Bryan (Tenn.), dropping the first game 5-4 but winning the finale 3-1.

"I've been extremely lucky," Osborne said of achieving the milestone.

In his 10th season at Union, Osborne has compiled a record of 400-165 for a .708 winning percentage. During his time at the helm, the Bulldogs have posted six 40-win seasons, won a school-record 48 games in a season three times, won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament once, the AAC regular-season title twice, captured two NAIA Region XII championships, won the South Central Super Regional once, advanced to the NAIA World Series once and participated in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round three times.

"This achievement is not about me," said Osborne. "This is a credit to all the players, assistant coaches and everyone else who has been a part of our program over the past 10 seasons. I've been fortunate to have had some great players throughout the years and some outstanding assistant coaches who deserve just as much credit if not more than I for the 400 wins. This would not have been possible without all of them."

Osborne has produced one NAIA All-American first team member, 13 NAIA All-American honorable mentions, one region and conference player of the year, four conference pitchers of the year, a conference freshman of the year and 34 all-conference first team members.

With the doubleheader split, Union is 20-14 overall and 7-7 in conference play. Bryan is now 17-16 overall and 5-9 in the AAC.

The teams will complete the three-game series with a nine-inning contest Saturday at 1 p.m.

Game 1 - Turning Point
A two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fourth proved to be the difference as Bryan claimed a 5-4 victory in the opener. Tied at 3-3, the Lions loaded the bases thanks to a single and two walks with two down. Cody Rhinehart followed with a single to drive in a pair to make it a 5-3 contest.

Union cut the deficit to 5-4 in the fifth as LaVance Anderson (Bowling Green, Ky.) tripled to drive in Miguel Mendez (Lansing, Ky.). The Bulldogs threatened in the sixth as they loaded the bases with two outs. However, Bryan got out of the game thanks to a flyout. Union went down in order in the seventh, sealing the Lions' one-run victory.

Gabby Juarbe (San Juan, P.R.) belted his fifth home run of the season, going 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Tyler Brake (Burlington, Ky.) also homered, his fourth as he went 1-for-3 at the plate.

For Bryan, Rhinehart led the way in going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Kevin Layne also drove in two runs in going 1-for-3.

Kenny Knudsen picked up the win, improving to 3-1 on the year. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts in five innings of work. Joey Vega picked up his second save of the season, tossing 1 2/3 innings of shutout ball. 

Vance Sullivan (Verona, Ky.) suffered his first loss of the season, dropping him to 4-1. He gave up five earned runs on nine hits and four walks with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings pitched.

Game 2 - Turning Point
Anderson lofted a three-run home run in the fifth inning, and Luke Collis (St. Charles, Mo.) took care of the rest as Union posted a 3-1 victory in finale.

With two on and one out, Anderson blasted a 3-2 pitch from L.J. Rowden over the wall to break the scoreless tie. Tyler Latham drove in Bryan's lone run in the sixth. After that, the Lions never threatened again as Collis collected the complete-game victory.

Collis allowed one earned run on two hits and three walks with five strikeouts. He is now 4-2 on the season. Anderson finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Rowden suffered the loss, dropping to 3-3. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

By the Numbers

  • The complete game was the fourth of the season for Collis. Last season, Chris Fern led the team with five.
  • Collis dropped his ERA to 3.83 having allowed 19 earned runs in 50 1/3 innings.
  • Juarbe and Nelson Price (Burkesville, Ky.) both extended their hit streaks to five games. 
  • With the three home runs on the day, Union has now outslugged the opposition 14-7 so far this season.
  • The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 41-19 in the fifth inning this season. The next best inning for Union is the first with a 37-15 advantage.

Up Next
After Union completes the conference series Saturday at Bryan, it will visit No. 21 Campbellsville (Ky.) Tuesday at 6 p.m. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 13-2.

 
 
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