WEST LIBERTY, W. Va. – The Urbana University baseball team dropped a pair of games Saturday at regionally-ranked West Liberty, falling in the weekend series against the Hilltoppers three games to one. The Blue Knights fell 3-2 on an unearned run in Saturday’s first game, while the host Hilltoppers slugged their way past UU, 15-7, in the nightcap at Kovalick Field.
UU dropped to 13-23 overall and 7-13 against league opponents. WLU, which is tied for first in the MEC North Division, improved to 16-4 in conference play and 22-11 overall.
West Liberty jumped out to an early lead with a two-run single in the first, and then the two teams went scoreless until the final frame.
UU starter Dalton Greenwalt settled in and only allowed four baserunners in the second through the sixth inning. The senior right-hander had his longest outing of the season, going six innings with two earned runs on seven hits, three walks, and season-high six strikeouts.
After UU tied the score at 2-2 in the top of the seventh, Greenwalt faced the first batter in the bottom half and allowed a walk. Then, UU went to reliever Adam Ramirez and the first batter he faced put down a sacrifice bunt – however, Ramirez delivered a high throw to first base to allow the winning run to score all the way from first base. For UU, it was the second straight walk-off loss to the Hilltoppers, who recorded a walk-off homer in Friday’s second game.
UU got back in the game with back-to-back, pinch-hit singles by Mickey Losey and Connor Coy to start the seventh. Then after the next two batters were retired, junior Brad Burkholder stepped up with the clutch RBI single up the middle to plate Losey and make the score 2-1. The tying run came around soon after on a wild pitch and passed ball.
The Blue Knights managed four hits as both teams combined for just 11 hits total in the opener.
UU led the Hilltoppers 5-2 after scoring three runs in the top of the fourth, but the hosts broke open the game by putting up 13 combined runs in their next four appearances at the plate. The Blue Knights tacked on a run in the fifth, which tied the score 6-6 at the time, and one more in the eighth.
Juniors Mickey Barea and Isac Franklin produced three hits apiece, while Losey and senior Nick Gallagher each doubled for UU’s only extra-base hits. Burkholder remained solid at the plate by reaching safely five times with two hits, two RBI, and three walks.
UU reliever Dylan Sheffer was charged with the loss as the Blue Knights used four pitchers.
West Liberty outhit the Blue Knights 13-11, led by clean-up hitter Coby Eckstein (2 for 4; 4 RBI), who homered twice.
UU returns to action Tuesday at Cedarville for a non-conference game. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.