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Tyler McPeak
Tyler McPeak went a combined three-for-six with two runs scored and three RBI in the doubleheader against Wingate on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader

The No. 16 Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team sweeps No. 9 Illinois Springfield in a doubleheader to at least take a share of the heavyweight four-game series. Late-game surges by the Bears in both games helped Lenoir-Rhyne power past the Prairie Stars and gain some confidence in the offense with L-R winning game one, 3-2 and the nightcap, 9-5. With both starters having pleasant starts on the mound, the bullpen shined in each contest as relief pitchers Braden Houston and Michael Allen were given the winning decisions in Game 1 and Game 2, respectively.

In game one, Joshua Lanham got his second start at home this season and provided a similar stat line from his first start with 98 pitches in 6.0 IP with eight strikeouts. Despite only recording four hits in the game, two of them were home runs with a Tyler McPeak 2-run shot in the sixth and a solo blast by David Bell in the seventh.

The Prairie Stars had some of the most consistent hitters in the opening game with Brandon Bannon and Pat Dillingham, who had three and two hits, respectively. Houston turned a hold opportunity into his first win of the season with allowing only one hit in his 2.2 IP; it is the second game in a row that the redshirt senior has closed the game out for the Bears.

It was the third game in a row at home that the Bears scored three runs or fewer, but have been successful in those contests winning two of the last three. The Bears were caught stealing on two or their three attempts, with Blake Bean being the only one to get his first stolen base of the season.

Colton Klein was the only Prairie Star to cash in on a scoring opportunity with a 2-RBI single in the sixth inning, a lead that was short-lived until the bottom of the sixth.

In game two, the offense was much more prevalent in the second game of the doubleheader, with the Bears scoring the most runs in a single game this season with nine.  After unable to take the lead in the first six innings, Lenoir-Rhyne finished off Illinois-Springfield with five unanswered runs to win by four runs, tying its largest margin of victory this season.

Zach Evans led all Bears with his three RBIs of two hits; his first hit coming in the sixth inning with a 2-RBI single, followed by an RBI double in the seventh. Along with Evans, leadoff batters Bean and Cole Laskowski each recorded two hits in the game as they combined drove in six of the nine runs.

Lenoir-Rhyne’s bullpen was much more utilized in the second game with four relievers pitching; the combined bullpen of Caleb Cockerham, Allen, Brayden Collett, and Gavin Marley struck out eight batters and only allowed two hits and an earned run. Finding the gap was much easier for the Bears in the second game with their six extra-base hits; following the Bean home run, Laskowski, McPeak, Sal Carricato, Wade Cuda, and Evans all recorded doubles.

Illinois-Springfield was not successful at bringing their base runners home with stranding 12 players on the base path compared to the Bears’ eight.