By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Myrtle Beach, SC---The Express baseball team fell victim to one bad inning that led to a 5-2 loss to Olney Central College in their season opener today.
Early on, the Express put runners on base in each of the first two innings, but failed to capitalize. In the first, Justin Elder walked with one out and stole second with two outs, but was stranded when Austin Cowan grounded out to end the threat.
Dane Davis threw a complete game for the Express, while allowing only one earned run.
In the latter half of the second inning, Davis allowed back-to-back singles to open the inning. The next hitter, Cody Seeberg, grounded a ball to Cowan's right at first base. Cowan threw to short, but the ball was dropped by Nate Manis to load the bases.
Up next, Jarret Young singled to knock in the game's first run. Jeremy Cline then grounded to Manis at short, but he couldn't handle it for the second error of the inning. Following a walk by Davis, Manis helped redeem himself by starting a 6-4-3 double play.
Following a walk and a single that put Olney Central up 5-0, Davis got Kollin Dowdy to fly out to center to end the inning.
Similar to the first two innings, the Express put at least one runner on in each of the next four innings, but failed to put any of them across the plate.
Meanwhile, Davis settled down and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced, including the final nine.
After knocking on the door throughout the game, the Express offense found life in the seventh inning. After the first two batters were retired, Manis, Elder, Ryan Horvath and Cowan had four straight singles to make it 5-2 with runners on first and third. Benjamin Breymier struck out to end the threat and the game, though.
Nathan Gahaf (1-0) picked up the complete game victory for Olney Central. The lefty allowed seven hits, two runs and two walks while striking out eight. He also hit one batter (Samson leading off the third).
In his six innings, Davis allowed six hits, five runs (one earned), and two walks while striking out one.
Cowan (2-for-4, 1 RBI) and Elder (2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB) led the Express offensively. Manis (1-for-3, 1 R) picked up the team's second walk and stolen base.
Troy Paris (2-for-3, 1 R) led Olney Central on offense.
The Express (0-1) will once again take on Olney Central tomorrow at 9 a.m. It will be their only game of the day.
Today's game was the head coaching debut for Devin Taylor.
Cowan, who sat out last season, and Elder, who played for the Express last year, are transfers from Olney Central.