Austin Edwards and Braden Houston split the game down the middle and pitched Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball’s 5th shutout of the season en route to a 2-0 victory over Mars Hill in the series opener. Drew Yniesta drove in both runs for the Bears, who are now 28-7 on the season.
Edwards got the start and the win for the Bears, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits and striking out four. He ran into a bit of trouble in the first inning, putting runners on the corners. However, the grad transfer from Western Illinois got Kyle Jenkins to pop up to second base to end the threat.
The Bears opened the scoring in the 3rd inning. David Bell led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on an error, and then Erick Ramirez reached on a bunt single. Yniesta then came up and grounded out to shortstop, but it was deep enough to get Bell home to make it a 1-0 ballgame.
The Bears scored again in the 5th inning, again with Ramirez involved. He singled with one out and then stole second base. After Cole Laskowski walked, Yniesta knocked a line drive into left center field to score Ramirez and make it a 2-0 game. Yniesta had three of the Bears’ nine hits in the game.
Mars Hill put a couple men on in the bottom of the 5th, and Edwards exited with runners on second and third and one out. Houston came in and induced a strikeout and a foulout to end the threat and keep it a 2-0 game.
The Lions scattered a couple hits against Houston along the way, but never mounted a threat until back-to-back singles in the bottom of the 9th. With two men on and one out, Houston got Ruben Trillo to ground into the game-ending double play, 6-4-3.
Edwards picked up his third win of the season, and Houston got the save with 4 2/3 innings pitched.
This was LR’s first win this season when scoring one or two runs. The Bears were previously 0-5 when getting two or fewer runs.
Yniesta recorded his third three-hit game of the season and 17th multi-hit game. He is now hitting .372 on the year. Yniesta, Bell and Wade Cuda are all tied for 2nd on the team in RBIs with 31.
Houston’s ERA is now a staggering 0.42 this season in 21 2/3 innings pitched. He has 28 strikeouts and only five walks as well. This was the 65th meeting between these two teams since 2000, and the series was tied 32-32 in that time frame before this game.
The Bears have won three in a row and eight out of the last 10 meetings and improve to 28-7 overall and 8-5 in the South Atlantic Conference.