KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Sixth-seeded Virginia Intermont took a three-run lead in the seventh inning, and never gave it up, holding off the second-seeded Union College baseball team in a wild 11-9 upset victory on Wednesday evening at the 2013 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament at Hunter Wright Stadium.
With the loss, UC fell to 30-22 overall, and plays Bryan (Tenn.) Thursday morning at 11 a.m. in an elimination contest. VI moves on in the winners bracket, and will play the winner of the UC-Bryan game at 5 p.m. tomorrow.
Things started off fast for the Bulldogs in the game, as they got out to a quick 3-0 lead after three innings, plating a single run in each of the first three frames.
In the bottom of the first, Tyler Brake hit a sacrifice RBI fly out to left, scoring LaVance Anderson from third to give UC the early 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs tacked on another run in the second, as J.D. Burrell scored from third on a balk by VI's starting pitcher Andrew Jessup.
In the third, UC expanded the lead out to 3-0, as Brake hit his second home run in as many days, and his tenth of the year, this time of the solo variety on a ball that was hit just over the right field fence.
But, in the top of the fourth, VI took their first lead of the day with a four-run outburst, running UC starter Trey Alexander from the contest. In the bottom half of the inning, the Bulldogs grabbed the lead back with a two-run frame to go up 5-4, as Ben Hartley had an RBI single, and Gabby Juarbe hit a two-out RBI double.
VI once again came back in the top of the fifth to tie things up at 5-5 with a lone run, then went up 8-5 after plating three runs in the top of the sixth.
Union, however, roared back in the bottom half of the inning to score three runs of their own to tie things up at eight-all. Brake recorded another RBI in the frame, this time on a single that scored Ben Hartley, while Anderson scored during the play on a VI error. With two outs, UC tied the game on another VI error, as Zach Dillman scored on the mistake to tie things up at eight.
In the seventh, VI countered once again, taking the lead for good with three more runs, as the Bulldogs were hampered by mistakes in the frame. The Cobras scored two runs on a throwing error, and their last run on a wild pitch.
UC threatened in both the seventh and eighth innings, and scored in the eighth to cut the lead to two. But, the Bulldogs had threats extinguished in both frames after hitting into double plays with one out. In the ninth, UC went down in order, as VI pulled off the wild upset victory.
Overall, Union pounded out 14 hits in the game, with four players recording multiple-hits games. Dillman led the way, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored, while Brake was 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Burrell was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Hartley was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored to round out the top performances on the day for UC.
VI was led in the win by Preston Asbill, who was a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. On the mound, VI reliever Josh Paolucci (4-1) earned the win, while Jeff Stack picked up his first save of the season. For UC, Blake King (0-1) was the loser.