With temperatures hovering in the low 30s, Urbana University baseball fell twice to Concord in a pair of one-run games Saturday at Blue Knight Baseball Field. CU edged UU 4-3 in the ninth inning of the first game, after forcing extras with the tying run in the seventh. UU cut down a five-run deficit in Game 2, but came up short by a 6-5 final score.
CU (12-6, 6-0 MEC) remains undefeated in league play and extended its win streak to eight games. UU drops to 3-19 overall and 3-5 against league opponents.
UU senior Vitor Takakura allowed three hits during a career-best outing, but it wasn’t enough. The right-hander tossed six frames, a new career-high, while allowing three runs. He started the seventh but put the first two runners aboard before exiting the game with a 3-2 lead.
Unfortunately, Concord pushed one run across in the seventh to force extra innings with the score knotted at 3-3. The Mountain Lions eventually plated the go-ahead run on a two-out single in the ninth, which was the only base hit against reliever Robbie Guerrero III.
Guerrero (3.0 IP, 1 H, 3 K) fell victim to three hit batters and suffered his third loss (1-3).
UU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Mickey Losey (2-5, 2B) scored on a wild pitch. Then, Concord claimed a 2-1 lead after four frames until Zeth Tanner (1-4) came up clutch. The senior catcher continued his recent tear at the plate by delivering two runs on a double to deep left center, giving UU a 3-2 lead after five.
The Blue Knights out-hit the Mountain Lions 6-4, but failed to register a hit in the final three innings. Senior Mickey Barea (1-5), senior Tanner Davis (1-2) and junior Austin Pratt (1-4) each singled.
UU struggled to move runners and left at least one aboard in each frame (11 total).
Concord was led by Adrian Peralta’s 2-for-4 effort at the plate. Reliever Cody Dooley (2-1) earned the win after three shutout innings on the mound.
Things heated up, figuratively speaking, in the second game as both teams combined for 23 hits at the plate.
CU jumped out to a 6-1 lead after three frames after scoring three runs in the first, one in the second and two in the third. However, UU responded with a four-spot in the bottom of the sixth to get back in it.
Three consecutive singles by Pratt (2-4), Coy (2-4) and Tanner (2-4) made it 6-2, and then Davis notched a two-run double the opposite way to plate two more. With two outs later in the inning, Davis came around to score on a wild pitch to get UU within a run heading to the final inning.
Senior reliever Steven Beall kept UU close by shutting the door on the Mountain Lions offense. The right-hander, who has already posted career-highs in innings (21.0) and strikeouts (11), tossed four shutout frames with a season-high five strikeouts.
Then, a quick inning of work for freshman pitcher Ryan Townsend set the stage for UU’s attempt to even the series in the last at-bat.
Down 6-5, the Blue Knights got two runners on with back-to-back, two-out singles by Tanner and Guerrero (2-4).
Up next was Davis, who was swinging the hot bat in his debut in left field. The senior lefty got a clean hack and just missed a walk-off hit with a fly out to the deepest part of the park in center field. The CU center fielder made a running grab over his left shoulder at the fence to seal the game.
On Sunday, UU split with visiting UVa-Wise, losing the first game, 5-4, and winning the nightcap, 4-3.