Joseph Marvin: Assistant Sports Information Director
Photo Credit: Thom Kennedy '21 Instagram - @thomkphoto
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Brevard College Tornados Baseball team (10-26) reached the double-digit win plateau for 2019 and earned a hard-fought series win over the Johnson University Tennessee Royals (10-26) by splitting a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at the Knoxville Municipal Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Brevard utilized impressive baserunning and a complete game from sophomore Ben Melton to claim the first game, 7-5, before narrowly falling in the second contest, 5-3. BC picked up a come-from-behind, 12-10 triumph yesterday, earning itself the series victory.
Ryan Roon tallied his 100th career base hit in the first game on Saturday, capping off his junior season in style.
Melton (2-5) earned the start on the hill for the Tornados, hurling a solid complete-game, seven-inning outing in which he allowed three earned runs on eight hits, striking out two Royals in the process.
BC's offense and baserunning stood out the most in the first game, as the Tornados took what the Royals' defense and pitching gave them.
Jack Atkinson, Christian Ezzell, and Jason Jucker racked up two stolen bases each as part of an eight stolen base afternoon for the Tornados. BC baserunners also took advantage of wild pitches, passed balls, and throwing errors to place themselves in better position to score.
Atkinson enjoyed a perfect 2-for-2 day at the plate, tallying two bunt singles to go along with three runs scored and an RBI.
Jucker, who led all Tornado hitters in Friday's victory, tallied his second-straight multi-hit performance, going 2-for-4 with three big RBIs.
Ezzell was able to extend his hitting streak, singling through the right side in the top of the third inning to push the streak to 12 contests.
Roon dropped in a single in the seventh inning to reach the 100 career hit plateau.
Roon got the Tornados on the board first with an RBI groundout in the top half of the first inning before the Royals struck for two runs in the bottom half of the frame, taking a 2-1 lead.
Brevard scored in each of the next three innings, using a two-RBI single by Jucker in the second, a double steal that scored Ezzell in the third, and an error in the fourth to build up a 5-2 advantage.
Johnson answered in the bottom of the fifth, tagging Melton for two runs to cut BC's margin to a slim, 5-4 lead.
Atkinson and Jucker both plated runs in the top of the sixth to give BC some important insurance, extending the lead out to a 7-4 gap.
The Royals found an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to cut BC's advantage to two runs at 7-5, as game one moved to its final inning.
After Melton allowed two baserunners on in the bottom of the seventh, the sophomore picked up a game-clinching strikeout, giving Brevard its first 10 win season since 2016-17.
The Tornados shifted their lineup quite a bit for their final regular season contest, including tossing seven different pitchers into action.
Josh Van Liew ended 2019 emphatically, racking up the first multi-hit performance of his career. Van Liew was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a triple.
Johnson plated two runs in the bottom of the third inning to establish a 2-0 lead before the Tornados tallied runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the contest, 2-2.
The Royals surged for three decisive runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a controlling 5-2 lead late.
Van Liew notched his RBI triple in the top of the contest's final inning, as the Tornados fell by a final of 5-3.
Brevard's 2019 season was highlighted by this weekend's series victory over Johnson University Tennessee, a season-sweep over Emory & Henry University, and a resounding home victory over then nationally-ranked Huntingdon College. BC's 10 wins surpass its 2018 total, and are the most the program has seen since the 2017 season.
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