Buffs hand Montreat first conference defeat

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   Five runs in the first two innings set the pace for the Milligan College Buffaloes.
   In Saturday's baseball doubleheader, Milligan used a quick offensive spurt, solid defense and the arm of senior pitcher Chad Davis to deal the twelfth-ranked Montreat College Cavaliers their first conference loss of the season in a 6-1 decision at Anglin Field.
   The Buffaloes (15-10, 7-3) didn't get the results they wanted in the second game, as the Cavs (27-3, 11-1) clearly pulled away with an 8-2 decision.
   Both teams will meet again today at 2 p.m.
   "I thought we came out and did what we were supposed to," said Milligan coach Danny Clark. "We had a good gameplan, I felt, going into the first game."
   "Davis threw the ball extremely well. I think that was a big key," he said. "I think we executed a couple of hit and runs, and we got the bunts down when we needed to."
   Davis, the Cleveland, TN native, pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and five hits. Ben Truitt earned the loss for Montreat by giving up all six runs in six inning on the mound.
   David Rusaw, Dustin Price and Brad Hitch each went 2 of 3 for Milligan, while freshman catcher Thomas Lister had a crucial two-run single in the first inning, while driving across another run in the fifth inning on a sacrificed grounder.
   Rusaw and Price opened game one with a single and double before Nathan Meade sent Rusaw across on a fielder's choice. Lister brought the other two towards the plate on his lone single.
   Montreat got its lone run in the second inning when Daniel Vaughn drove across Drew Sandri.
   Brian Miller and Hitch did a replay of the first inning in the bottom of the second with their single-double combo. Miller scored on Will Little's sacrifice fly, while a Rusaw single scored Hitch.
   The Buffaloes got their final run in the fifth inning when Lister sacrificed Price across the plate.
   Montreat scored seven of their eight runs during the second game in a stretch between the second and fourth innings.
   "We didn't throw strikes early in the game," said Clark. "We walked and got behind with our hitters, and we were flat offensively. You can't do that against a team like that."
   Daniel Vaughn and Willie Jones took a hold of bases in the second inning for the Cavs with a single and walk, respectively. It set up a two-run double from Mark Hudson, who wound out scoring on a double steal.
   In the third, Rusaw grabbed two straight outs in the field for Milligan, but it couldn't stop Montreat.
   Drew Sandri advanced on an error and Greg Haag made the Buffaloes pay with a two-run homer directly over the right-center wall.
   Hudson was struck with a pitch to open Montreat's fourth inning frame. A Brooks Hollifield walk set up a two-run double from Price Stevens that kind of put a cap on things for the Cavs.
   Milligan got their first run in the fifth inning when Jacob McAllister walked and scored on a balk. Nathan Meade singled in the sixth inning before scoring on an RBI single from Brian Miller to make it 7-2.
   Montreat wasn't finished, however, as Sandri sent another shot flying into the outfield, this time over the 370 mark.
   It makes today's game a crucial one with high implications for a Milligan victory.
   "Obviously, they are in first place (inthe conference) so you've got to do everything right," said Clark. "We're in second with Brevard, so tomorrow is important for us as far as contending."
   Eric Pastore grabbed the win for Montrest in his five and two-thirds innings of work. Todd Speas drew the loss for the Buffaloes after close to three innings on the hill.