BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Senior Tyler Brake (Burlington, Ky.) continued his hot hitting Saturday as he helped fuel Union's Appalachian Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep of visiting Milligan (Tenn.), winning 7-3 and 3-1 in extra innings.
On the day, the Bulldog first baseman went 4-for-6 with a double, two home runs and four RBIs. Brake's biggest hit came in the eighth inning of the game two when he blasted a two-run home run to give Union the 3-1, walk-off win in extra innings.
The sweep improves Union's overall record to 26-17 and its conference mark to 11-9. Milligan falls to 20-20 overall and 7-10 in the AAC.
The two squads will complete the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Game 1 - Turning Point
Union got four solid innings of shutout ball out its bullpen as the Bulldogs recorded the 7-3 victory. Justin King (Barbourville, Ky.) pitched a pair of scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth frames to up his record to 3-4. King faced the minimum, not allowing a hit or walk with one strikeout. Meanwhile, Drew Hillard (Lexington, Ky.) closed out the game with two shutout innings in the sixth and seventh to collect his first save of the year. Hillard gave up two hits and walks and fanned one.
A three-run second put the Bulldogs up 4-1 as they never trailed en route to the 7-3 decision. With two on and one out, LaVance Anderson (Bowling Green, Ky.) lined a run-scoring single to break the 1-1 tie. Gabby Juarbe (San Juan, P.R.) followed with a two-run base hit to give Union a 4-1 advantage.
Milligan scored twice in the top of the third, but Union accounted for the game's final three runs on its way to the four-run win.
Anderson and Juarbe both had two hits and two RBIs, while Brake finished 3-for-4 with a double, home run and two RBIs.
For Milligan, Tyree Jefferies led the way in going 2-for-4 with two driven. Ethan Fleenor took the loss for the Buffaloes, surrendering five earned runs on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings pitched. He is now 3-5.
Game 2 - Turning Point
In what was a pitchers' duel, it was the bat of Brake which decided the outcome as he belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth.
Tied at 1-1, Nelson Price (Burkesville, Ky.) led off the eighth with a five-pitch walk. Brake then sent the first offering from Buffalo closer Justin Joshson rocketing over the right-field fence to give Union the 3-1, extra-inning victory.
Milligan outhit Union 9-4, but starter Luke Collis (St. Charles, Mo.) did a masterful job keeping the Buffaloes off the scoreboard. Milligan's lone run came in the fourth and it was unearned. Collis recorded his fifth complete game as improved to 5-2. He gave up one unearned run on nine hits and one walk to go along with a season-high nine strikeouts.
Union's other run came off a Price sac fly in the fifth to tie the game at 1-1.
Corey McPherson, Luke Kirk and Brett Mercurio each went 2-for-4 for Milligan. Johnson took the loss, dropping him to 2-5.
By the Numbers
- Price extended his hit streak to 12 games, but it ended in the second game. However, Price had the game-tying RBI with a sac fly and scored the game-winning run in the 3-1 win.
- Anderson now has the longest current hit streak for Union, which is now at 11 games. Miguel Mendez (Lansing, Mich.) is next at seven games with Juarbe at five.
- Collis' nine strikeouts are the most by any Bulldog pitcher in a game this season. The previous high was seven by Hillard.
- In the last four games, Brake is 8-for-14 with five doubles, six runs scored, two home runs and six RBIs.
- Brake's two four-baggers give Union 20 on the year in 43 games. The Bulldogs belted 26 in 56 games last season.
- Union stole six bases on the game, upping its total to 92 in 43 games. Last year, Union swiped 100.
After Sunday's game versus Milligan, Union will travel to Georgetown (Ky.) on Tuesday for a single, nine-inning contest at 6 p.m.