Buffs drop two to Cavs

By Allen LaMountain
Betting on collegiate sports is tantamount to throwing away your career, but for Montreat College a 'Wager' proved just the ticket.
   Junior pitcher Sean Wager earned a win in the opener of the Cavaliers' twin-bill sweep of the Milligan College Buffaloes on Saturday afternoon at Anglin Field.
   Montreat (26-21, 11-6 AAC) won 3-2 in nine innings in the opener as Wager went eight and one-third innings, striking out three and walking three, while surrendering just four hits.
   Montreat scored single runs in the second and third frames against Milligan (21-25, 11-8 AAC) starter Dustin Barrett (4-4), who lasted five and two-thirds frames before being lifted for reliever Matt Simmons.
   "Simmons pitched well, but we didn't get any hits in the clutch," said Milligan head coach Danny Clark. "(Montreat's) pitchers hit their spots, and we couldn't get anything hit on the ground. We aren't making the adjustments we have to make to what the pitchers are throwing."
   The few hits Milligan did hit on the ground were quickly scooped up by the Montreat middle infielders -- shortstop Price Stevens and second baseman Lucas Grasty -- who robbed the Buffs of at least five hits.
   Grasty made two diving saves of balls hit up the middle and Stevens showed great range and a strong throwing arm as he made two plays in the hole at short.
   "We have had to battle adversity all year with injuries," said Montreat head coach Darin Chaplain. "We have nine guys out with injuries this season. But Stevens and Grasty have made plays all year for us, and we just keep battling in every game."
   In the second frame, Jeromy Bullman reached on catchers' interference and after a single by Willie Jones, Bullman scored on a grounder by Grasty.
   In the third, a leadoff double by Stevens led to another Cavalier run as Stevens scored on a double-play ball staking Wager to a two-run lead.
   Milligan tied the contest in the last of the fourth as Dustin Price led off with a single, and the Buffs loaded the bases on an error by Reeder and Jeremy Christian was plunked by Wager.
   Brad Hitch's single plated two runs and got the Buffs back in the game.
   Barrett got into a jam in the sixth, walking Jones and hitting Grasty with a pitch, forcing Clark to go to his bullpen for Simmons.
   Simmons got out of the jam and pitched well through the eighth, but in the ninth, the Cavaliers finally broke through against him. With one-out, Harpeet Padda doubled to left and scored on a base knock by Chip Pennell.
   Shooting for a complete game win, Wager fell a bit short as he walked pinch hitter David Hilton and was lifted for sub-mariner Brian Kestler, who earned the save by getting pinch hitter Jacob McAllister to line into a 6-4 double-play.
   A pair of lefties dueled in game two, but Milligan's Chris Gambill (5-4) didn't have his good stuff on this day and the Cavs teed off on him for four runs on four hits in the top of the first.
   "I didn't have any velocity, and couldn't hit my spots today," said Gambill. "I put the team in a tough spot, putting us in the hole like that. I settled down after the third, and got by with what I had."
   Doubles by Stevens, Reeder and Tony Peay (pronounced Pay) led to the four-run Cavalier explosion against Gambill to open the contest.
   Montreat extended to a 6-0 lead in the third as Pennell singled and Reeder doubled him home, and Reeder later scored on a throwing error by Jeremy Christian.
   In the Milligan fifth, hits by Ryan Dunn and Hitch, followed by a two-bagger from Chris Arnold, plated two runs for the Buffs, but Scott Shealy and Chuck Arnold both went down to end the threat.
   "At this time of the season, you have to control your own destiny," said Clark. "It's too late in the season to make lineup adjustments. The guys are just going to have to take things into their own hands."