BRISTOL, Va. - The Union baseball team won big in the opener, but host Viriginia Intermont forced an extra frame to steal the finale as the teams split the Appalachian Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday. The Bulldogs took the opener 15-8, while the Cobras posted a 5-4 victory in eight innings in the second game.
With the split, Union is now 22-16 overall and 8-9 in conference. Virginia Intermont is 19-10 and 9-5 in the AAC.
The rubber match is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
Game 1 – Turning Point
A nine-run third inning shot the Bulldogs in front as they cruised to the 15-8 decision in the opening game.
Down 3-2 in the top of the third, Union sent 13 batters up to the plate in reeling off nine runs. The Bulldogs rapped out only five hits in the frame, but they took advantage of two Cobra errors, five walks and one hit batter. Tyler Brake (Burlington, Ky.) lined a two-run single and Nelson Price (Burkesville, Ky.) scored on the play thanks to one of the Virginia Intermont errors. After it was all said and done, Union led 11-3.
Union added a run in the fourth and three more in the fifth to up its lead to 15-3. Gabby Juarbe (San Juan, P.R.) lined a two-run double in the fifth, Price followed with a run-scoring single.
The Cobras tried to fight back, scoring two in the fifth and three in the seventh. But it was too little, too late as Union held on for the 15-8 victory.
Price picked up the win to improve to 4-4, allowing five runs, four earned, on nine hits and two walks with one strikeout in five innings of work.
Juarbe finished the game 2-for-5 with four RBIs, while Brake drove in three RBIs in going 3-for-4. Tyler Young (Manchester, Ky.) blasted his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second inning.
Justin Hutton suffered the loss for the Cobras, allowing 10 runs, seven earned, on seven hits and three walks with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings pitched. He is now 6-2 on the year.
Game 2 - Turning Point
Down to its last at bat, Virginia Intermont produced a three-run rally in the seventh to force an extra inning and then won the game in the eighth.
Union took a 3-1 into the seventh and added an unearned run to stretch the margin to 4-1. However, the Cobras put together a three-run rally to knot the game at 4-4. Virginia Intermont lined five hits in the seventh with Taylor McGinnis, Brandon Palmer and Tyler Richardson each collecting RBIs.
In the eighth, Virginia Intermont had two with two out when Palmer singled to drive in the game-winning run as the Cobras pulled out the 5-4 decision.
Nick Musgrave pitched a scoreless eighth inning to get the win for Virginia Intermont, upping his record to 1-1. Justin King (Barbourville, Ky.) suffered the loss, allowing one run on two hits and one walk in 2/3 innings of work. He is now 2-4.
Palmer led the Cobras at the plate in going 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
For Union, Miguel Mendez (Lansing, Mich.) went 3-for-4 with a RBI, while Price finished 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
By the Numbers
After Sunday's game, Union returns home Tuesday to host Georgetown (Ky.) at 3 p.m.