On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the Urbana University baseball team scored two key Mountain East Conference wins over West Liberty University. The sweep moves the Blue Knights ahead of the Hilltoppers into second place in the MEC standings. Urbana won the first game 4-2 before walking off with a 5-4 win in the second game to complete the sweep.
Down a run in Game 1, junior Matt Paculan led off the third inning with a triple and later scored on a sac fly by senior Cody Ridinger. In the fifth inning, Urbana's offense exploded. After a walk to Roman Gammell, a double by Jose Vargas, a 2-run single by Enmanuel Lopez and an RBI double by Bronson Marlett, the home team led 4-1. Staff ace Nick Bozman (Indian Lake HS) took care of the rest by throwing 6 solid innings in front of a couple of MLB scouts. Bozman allowed 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 9 and improving to 5-0 on the mound. For the Blue Knights, Matt Paculan, Enmanuel Lopez and Bronson Marlett ended up with 2 hits each. Jeff Beall earned his second save of the season by pitching out of a jam in the seventh inning.
In the second game of the day, Urbana's offense didn’t waste any time grabbing a lead. A sac fly by Gammell was followed by another RBI from Vargas, and UU led 2-0 after the first inning. The Toppers scored twice in the second to tie the game before Vargas broke the tie with an RBI single, scoring Paculan in the fifth inning. Urbana added an important insurance run on a Ridinger sac fly in the bottom of the sixth. Down 4-2 in the seventh, the Toppers managed to tie the game once again with a couple of unearned runs, chasing starter Billy Kosachook from the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Knights loaded the bases with nobody out. Bronson Marlett played the hero with a line drive sac fly to right field, scoring pinch runner Matthew Watson on a close play at the plate.
In the Game 2 win, Kosachook threw 6 innings, allowing 4 runs (2 unearned). Vargas finished the game with 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Marlett, Jordan Pergrem and Steven Brown each collected hits. Junior Jordan Hill earned the win after retiring the final two Toppers in the top of the 7th.
Urbana (11-7, 10-4 MEC) and West Liberty (16-13, 13-8 MEC) will complete their four-game series with a Sunday doubleheader starting at 1:00pm.