Gambill 2-hitter sets tone for Buff sweep

By Allen LaMountain
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
alamountain@starhq.com

   The Milligan College Buffaloes got a strong dose of starting pitching on Saturday afternoon at Anglin Field, and in the process thrust themselves back into the Appalachian Athletic Conference race with a 5-0, 3-2 sweep of the UVa-Wise Cavaliers.
   Freshman left-hander Chris Gambill hurled a two-hit shutout (his second consecutive whitewashing) to even his record at 3-3 in the opener. Gambill mixed a moving fastball with his good curve in shutting down the high-octane Cavalier attack.
   "Our forte is offense, but today we didn't hit the ball well at all," said Wise head coach Hank Banner. "For the number of hits we did get, we didn't get any runs to show for it."
   Gambill was staked to a two-run first inning lead as Ben Whittemore worked Wise starter Josh Hylton for a free pass, and went to third when David Hilton reached on an error.
   Jeremy Christian's base knock plated both runners and gave Gambill some runs to work with in the early going.
   "Chris, being a freshman still doubts himself at times, but I think he's learning how to pitch with a lead," said Milligan head coach Danny Clark. "Once he gets that confidence, with his ability I think he's going to be something special."
   Gambill struck out four and walked two, but ran into some trouble in the fifth frame when his location failed him shortly. But after a brief visit by Clark to the mound Gambill settled in and retired Matt Walton and Justin Wyatt to put down the Cavalier threat.
   "Coach just reminded me to settle down, not to worry about it," said Gambill. "I felt like I had good enough stuff to get by with. I wasn't hitting my spots in warm-ups, but my fastball had good movement to it, and I was able to keep it low pretty good."
   The Buffs struck for a pair of runs in the fourth when Dustin Price and Brad Hitch ripped back-to-back doubles for one run, and when Wise first baseman Josh Scarbrough mis-handled a shot by Chris Archer, Hitch was able to scamper home with the Buffs fourth tally of the afternoon.
   Milligan got some insurance in the fifth as Price singled home Hilton, who had reached on a walk, and Gambill closed the door on Wise the rest of the way.
   In the nightcap the Cavs jumped out to a two-run lead in the third frame against Buffs starter Dustin Barrett when Wyatt reached on an error by Hitch. Courtney Nowlin's single put runners on the corners for Wise and Shawn Trent's base knock plated Wyatt.
   Nowlin scored as the Buffs turned a double play on a ball hit by Steve Tyler.
   Barrett battled the Cavs the rest of the way, surrendering just one-hit and one walk the rest of the way in recording his fourth win of the season against three losses.
   "I think Dustin is finally coming out of his slump," said Clark. "This was one of the better games Barrett has pitched. He has been my hottest pitcher for three years now. He stayed in there and battled and kept his composure."
   Barrett's opposite number was lefty Clay Salyor - a freshman whose slow delivery's had the Buffs off-stride all day, and Clark said of Salyor, "He has the best arm that we have seen in the conference so far. I liked the way he pitched."
   Milligan got a run back in the last of the third on a walk, an infield single and a groundout by Aaron Thomas that plated Hitch.
   Down by a 2-1 score in the last of the sixth, Milligan rallied for two runs to take their first lead of the game. Brian LeHeup pinch hit for Thomas and drew a walk from Salyor.
   Ben Whittemore then singled to left and Christian sacrificed both runners over. After Salyor struck out Hilton, Price drilled a shot past the Wise third baseman for a hit that allowed both LeHeup and Whittemore to score.
   Barrett surrendered a two-out single to Trent before striking out Tyler on a high hard one to end the contest.
   "I just wanted to put the ball in play somewhere," said Price, who drove in his sixth game-winning RBI of the season. "(Salyor) pitched well and had a good curveball working, but I found a hole, and I guess I get lucky a lot. I like to be up in those situations."