Midway University
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(10)Middle Georgia State College
Baseball - Wed, May 17, 2017

Lima, Ohio – The Midway University baseball team saw their inaugural season come to an end as they went toe-to-toe with tenth ranked Middle Georgia State on Tuesday morning in an elimination game in the Lima Bracket in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round.

The scoreboard showed that the game was a slugfest and it was just that as there were a total of 27 runs scored on 38 hits in the nine-inning affair. Middle Georgia State (44-15) came out on top with a walk-off double, 14-13, but Midway's offense was up for the challenge as they out-hit the No. 10 Knights 20-18.

It wasn't a good day for either starting pitcher as they combined to toss 7.2 innings allowing 21 runs on 24 hits. Midway starter James Davenport (Louisville, Ky.) was touched up for 11 runs on 11 hits in 3.1 innings of work. The junior also fanned three and allowed three free passes.

Meanwhile, the Midway offense also touched up the 2016 Pitcher of the Year in the Southern States Athletic Conference, Chris Rich. Rich was chased out of the game after 4.1 innings allowing 10 runs on 13 base hits.

The Knights struck first, but Midway answered with two in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Danny Maguire (Dana Point, Calif.) singled and the next batter, DJ Lewis (San Diego, Calif.) sent a double down the left-field line to score Maguire from first. After a Tyler Jones (Huntington Beach, Calif.) single sent Lewis to third, Reid Battles (Denton, Texas) hit a sac fly to score Lewis.

Middle Georgia State put up five in the second to take a 6-2 lead, but Midway once again battled back with three in the third to cut the deficit to one. The first two runs came via the long ball as Hector Quinones (Barceloneta, PR) and Barrett Croslin (Russellville, Ky.) went back-to-back.

Quinones sent a 1-2 pitch to deep left-center field for his 11th home run of the season, while Croslin crushed a 0-1 pitch and sent it to nearly the same spot that Quinones did. Maguire later legged out an infield single and scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to one, 6-5.

After the Knights scored three in the third and two in the fourth, Midway answered with a five run fifth inning. Maguire walked, Koy Lindsey (Sonora, Ky.) singled and Tyler Jones singled to load the bases with one out. Courtesy running for Lindsey was Noah Marion (Louisville, Ky.).  

With the bases juiced, Battles ripped a single to score Maguire. With the bases still loaded, Josh Wenning (Palmyra, Ind.) hit a double in front of the diving left fielder as Marion and Jones both scored to cut the deficit to 11-8.

After the Knights decided to change pitchers. Matthew Olson (Louisville, Ky.) hit a sac fly to right field to score Battles from third. Then, Quinones joined in on the fun and ripped a single that scored Wenning to cut the deficit to 11-10.

Middle Georgia State scored two in the bottom of the fifth to extend their lead out to 13-10 after five complete. After neither team scored in the sixth nor seventh innings, Midway went back to work with two runs on three hits in the eighth.

 Two straight singles from Olson and Quinones opened the inning, while Croslin sent a single to right that scored Olson as Quinones' pinch runner, Marion moved to second. Marion later scored when Maguire reached on a fielder's choice to cut the deficit to 13-12.

The Knights had a chance to score in the eighth, but were held scoreless thanks to the defense from Danny Maguire in left field. With a runner at first and two outs, the Knights ripped a ball that was hit to the wall in left, but Maguire timed his jump just right as he robbed Middle Georgia State of an insurance run and extra bases to end the inning heading to the ninth.

The momentum from Maguire's catch to end the eighth carried over into the ninth when the Eagles tied it up. Tyler Jones opened the inning with a single and Marion was on to pinch run again. Battles kept the inning alive with a single up the middle as Marion moved to second.

After a strikeout, Matthew Olson stepped to the plate. The freshman came through with base knock to score Marion from second and tie the game. It looked like Midway could take the lead with Battles on third as the go ahead run, but the Knights got out of the jam with a pop out.

In the bottom of the ninth, Midway relief pitcher, Hector Quinones got one quick out, but the Knights got a one out single to put the winning run aboard. The next batter hit a double into the gap into right-center as the winning run from first scored as the Knights won it 14-13.

Quinones unfortunately took the loss from Midway as he allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings of relief.

Offensively, Midway had seven players record multi-hit games with Jones leading the way going 4-for-5 with a run scored. Wenning, Olson, Quinones, Croslin and Battles all drove in two runs, while Olson and Quinones tallied three hits apiece. Lewis and Maguire also had one RBI each.

The 14-13 loss to Middle Georgia State ends Midway's inaugural season. The Eagles tallied a 28-30 record, while winning the River States Conference Baseball Tournament en route to an automatic berth in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round.

Midway skipper, Luther Bramblett, and his coaching staff will now turn to the offseason as they will look to add depth to next year's roster. 

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