LAURINBURG — After losing its Friday tilt against Tennessee Wesleyan, the St. Andrews University baseball team dropped two more contests Saturday against the visiting Bulldogs.
Tennessee Wesleyan claimed a 6-2 victory in the first game of the doubleheader, then downed the Knights 7-1 in the second contest. The Bulldogs cruised to a 4-0 win the day before, completing the series sweep of St. Andrews (10-6, 0-3 Appalachian Athletic Conference). The Knights entered the series having scored 37 runs in their previous threes outings, but only crossed home plate three times over the course of two days against Tennessee Wesleyan (11-4, 3-0).
The Bulldogs struck with two runs in the first inning, then added a run in the fourth and a pair of scores in the fifth. Tennessee Wesleyan tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning to take a commanding 7-0 lead.
Defensive mistakes proved costly for the Knights as they committed five errors while the Bulldogs only had two.
Shortstop Rancel Rosado helped St. Andrews avoid the shutout with two RBIs in the bottom of the seventh, but that’s when the Knights’ rally would end as Tennessee Wesleyan starting pitcher Deigo Ibarra capped his complete game. Ibarra pitched seven innings of seven-hit ball and allowed two runs, both of which were unearned. He also recorded eight strikeouts.
Brad Monson took the loss for St. Andrews, allowing six hits and five runs, while walking six batters and striking out five through five innings.
Rancel Rosado paced the Knights offensively, notching four hits in four at-bats with two doubles and a pair of RBIs. The senior leads the squad in batting average (.441) and RBIs (14) respectively this season.
Alfred Cruz and Ryan Phillips tallied two hits each for Tennessee Wesleyan, and Omar Gomez led the team with two RBIs.
As they did the previous two times they played, the Bulldogs drew blood first with a run in the top of the first inning. They added another run in the second, but St. Andrews answered with a run in the bottom of the frame to cut the deficit in half.
The score remained at 2-1 until the sixth inning when Tennessee Wesleyan created some cushion with two runs off St. Andrews reliever Lando Kincaid. Kindcaid failed to record an out, and though reliever Evan Tucker entered the game and got out of the inning without allowing further damage, the Bulldogs ripped him for a trio of runs in the top of the seventh.
Chevis Hoover secured the win for Tennessee Wesleyan, pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts.
St. Andrews freshman starter Brett Ayer received the loss, pitching five innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts. Ayer only allowed two hits, but the St. Andrews defense let him down with four errors.
Ryan Phillips had a team-high three RBIs for the Bulldogs, and catcher Hunter Hackney drove in the lone run for the Knights.
St. Andrews returns to the diamond today at 2 p.m. to host California University of Pennsylvania.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.