HARROGATE, Tenn. — The Railsplitters rallied for an 8-6 victory over the Anderson Trojans in game one and nearly rallied for another in a 15-13 loss in game two in a South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader split at Lamar Hennon Field on Saturday. Lincoln Memorial moves to 26-14-1 overall and 16-7 in SAC action after losing two of three to the Trojans (18-26, 13-13 SAC) over the weekend.
In the back-and-forth opener, the Railsplitters jolted out to a 4-1 lead with four runs in the bottom of the second. Jean Rodriguez plated the first with a triple, while Ryan Burlison singled in Rodriguez. Jonathan Lowe drove home Burlison with a single back up the box, and Kelvin Brito finished off the flourish with a run-scoring base knock.
Nathan Galliford single-handedly provided Anderson with the lead with a three-run blast in the top of the third and led off the top of the fifth with a solo blast. The Railsplitters knotted the game at 5-5 as Josh Coker belted his 13th home run of the season in the fifth, but Galliford capped his five-RBI outing with a run-scoring single in the sixth frame.
The Railsplitters stranded a runner on base in both the sixth and seventh innings before finally breaking through in the eighth. Nick Morabito started the rally with a lead-off double and Colin Buckner walked to put two runners on with no outs. Rodriguez bunted the runners over for Burlison, who tied the contest with a single into center field. Following a strikeout, Lowe laced a two-out, two-run double into right field to propel LMU to an 8-6 lead.
Senior Ian Creager picked up his first save of the season, working around a one-out single by Paul Como to pass the top of the ninth in scoreless fashion. Creager’s effort preserved the win for Dominic Morabito, who fanned five batters and allowed only two hits with no runs in 2-2/3 innings relief.
Lowe went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Kyle Floyd, Nick Morabito and Burlison each had two hits towards the Railsplitters’ 14-hit outburst.
The Trojans made a statement early in game two, nearly batting around twice in the top of the second while cruising out to a 9-0 advantage. Brett Cash’s grand slam highlighted that flurry, which was aided by a two-out fielding error in right field.
The Railsplitters got two runs back in both the bottom of the second and the fourth as Burlison popped an RBI double into left field and Scott Miller drove in a run with a ground out to second base in the second stanza, while Buckner homered and Miller hit an RBI single in the fourth.
But Anderson used another monster inning to extend the lead even further. The Trojans batted around again in the fifth, using run-scoring hits by Cash, Nathan Zalud, Josh Hickman, Ben Pendelton, Kyle Bailey and Steven Cooper to plow out to a 15-4 advantage.
Lincoln Memorial steadily chipped away at the lead as Brito homered in the fifth and Mason Ewers added an RBI single in the sixth. While the Railsplitters entered the bottom of the seventh staring up at a 15-6 deficit, the final trip to the plate proved more dramatic than expected.
After a Jacob West single and a Buckner double, Brandon Morris scorched a run-scoring single back up the middle. Burlison kept the line moving with a single, and Ivan Rodriguez connected for a three-run home run over the left-center field wall. Ewers followed suit with a solo blast in the very next at-bat, while Kyle Burger plated another with an RBI fielder’s choice. The Railsplitters cut the deficit all the way back to 15-13, bringing the tying run to the plate, but West struck out to halt the inning just short.
Rodriguez, Ewers, Brito, Isaac Woody and Burlison each contributed two hits, while Buckner was 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI.
Wes Todd was on the hook for the loss after allowing nine hits and nine runs, one earned, in two innings pitched. Todd falls to 5-2 on the season in defeat.
Prior to the start of Saturday’s double dip, the Railsplitters celebrated Senior Day, honoring the careers of Ian Creager and Josh Coker, who finished off their final weekend series at Lamar Hennon Field.
The Railsplitters host King for a nine-inning tilt on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Before that nine-inning affair begins, the Railsplitters and Tornados will complete their halted contest from back on Feb. 19.