Buffs blast Eagles, cap series sweep

By Allen LaMountain

   Junior catcher Nathan Chandler went two-for-three with a double, home run and four runs batted in as the Milligan College Buffaloes swept a weekend series with Appalachian Athletic Conference rival Alice Lloyd on Sunday
   Anglin Field proved to be home sweet home as the Buffs (23-14, 12-5 AAC) tallied a 17-2 seven-inning victory that saw Milligan score 35 runs in the three game set with the Eagles.
   Lefty Todd Speas took the hill for Milligan and was the beneficiary of some timely Buffs hits and some untimely Alice Lloyd miscues, as the Eagles four errors led to seven unearned runs.
   "It's been a tough weekend," said Eagle coach Scott Cornett. "We have struggled with our pitching, gave up a lot of runs so it's been hard to keep our focus. That is obvious with some of the errors we had in the field today."
   Speas hurled five strong innings giving up two runs on four hits. Speas struck out six and walked four, but wasn't completely satisfied with his pitching saying, "I couldn't really get my fastball across for strikes, so I relied on my curveball. I just let the defense make the plays behind me and when we scored those runs in the fourth it just made the job easier."
   The Buffs struck for a run in the last of the first as Scott Shealy opened the stanza with a free pass and advanced to third on a single by David Rusaw. A sharp ground ball single back through the box off the bat of Dustin Price scored Shealy to give Milligan a one-run lead.
   One out later Ben Whittemore grounded to Eagles' second baseman Derrick Whitaker who threw Price out at second, but shortstop Michael Marcum's throw to first sailed wide of the mark allowing Rusaw to scamper home with the Buffs second run.
   The Eagles responded with a run in the top of the second with Ben Monroe delivering an RBI single.
   A Milligan error opened the door for Alice Lloyd to get on the board again as Price's error at third allowed K.W. Sexton to reach second. Sexton stole third and came in to score on a ground out by Byron Hall.
   Shealy led off the Milligan third with his team-leading sixth homer of the season to stake Speas to a 3-1 lead, but the inning was long from over, as Price was then plunked by Eagle starter David Hatfield.
   Pat Gould drew a walk and the pair quickly pulled off a double steal that saw Price score when Alice Lloyd catcher Josh Todd's throw went into left field to give the Buffs a 4-2 lead.
   "A big part of our game is speed, and running the bases," said Milligan coach Danny Clark. "We don't have a lot of home run-type hitters so we push things on the bases with our speed. The good thing about that is that it's always going to be there."
   After Whittemore reached on Marcum's second error of the game, Ryan Dunn singled home a run and Chandler smacked a two-base knock to plate another runner and give the Buffs a 6-2 lead. A bases loaded walk to Shealy forced home another run later in the frame as the Buffs extended to a 7-2 advantage.
   An eight run uprising in the sixth gave the Buffs a 17-2 lead, but by rule the game has to go seven innings before the mercy rule goes into effect, and it began with Chandler taking a pitch by Eagles reliever Eric Helton.
   In all Milligan sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame with the big blow coming off the bat of Chandler who cleared the bases with a three-run shot over the left field fence to gain a measure of revenge against Helton.
   "That's the best type of revenge you better believe it," said Chandler who has bolstered the lower portion of the Milligan batting order and has been red-hot of late. "The hitters are doing what they have to do, the pitchers are throwing well, so it's been a great team effort. We just have to continue to do our jobs and hopefully play well when (Tennessee) Wesleyan came in next week."