Rams punch ticket to Regional Championship with 7-4 win over Covenant
Kirks closes the door on the Scots in the final inning to seal the victory
Sports Information Department BC
May 9, 2012
Bluefield College Athletics
Sports Information Department
Mayfield, Kentucky- The Bluefield Rams punched their ticket to the Regional Championship game on Wednesday evening defeating Covenant College 7-4 behind an early attack at the plate by the Rams.
Bluefield didn't waste any time in getting runs on the board in the early innings. After a sweet double-play in the top half of the first inning, the Rams jumped on top of the Scots 2-0 after two hits.
Riley led the game off with a leadoff double and a walk to Long. Gatewood then smacked a two-RBI single to right center field scoring two runners to conclude the inning.
Justin Lykins got the start on the mound for Bluefield and retired Covenant the first two innings with ease.
The Rams helped Lykins out quite a bit in the second inning as they jumped on top of the Scots to extend their lead.
Covenant had a clear chance to end the inning with two immediate outs, but Bluefield stretched all they could to keep the frame alive. After Moon and Riley singled, the Scots had another opportunity to retire the inning on a routine grounder, but bobbled the ball on the play. The Rams had bases-loaded for Gatewood.
The NCCAA All Region First-Team member made the Scots pay again. The right fielder's hit drove a all the way to the deep fence for a stand-up double plating three additional runs for three RBI's. Goodyear picked up a RBI single to score Gatewood on the very next at-bat.
The Rams took a 7-0 lead after two complete innings, five runs coming in the 2nd with two outs.
Covenant would scrape and claw their way back into the game picking up three runs in the 3rd inning off of Lykins, who was the victim of his team's two errors in the inning. The right-hander did a good job to get out of the inning with two runners in scoring position and allow the Rams to keep breathing room on the Scots at 7-2.
After a slow fourth inning, Andrew Kirks came in to relieve Lykins in the fifth. Kirks didn't allow a single hit in the next two innings before Covenant attempted to make a late-surge in the last 1/2 inning.
Kirks put two runners on immediately with a hit-by-pitch and walk to make things difficult. The lefty was able to strike out the next two batters to get two outs. After a RBI single by Chambers, the Scots made it a 7-4 game. Kirks again had the bases loaded, but saved the day when he got his 3rd and final 'K' of the inning with bases-loaded and close the game for Bluefield to seal the victory.
"Lykins competed really well for us in four innings", expressed head coach Mike White. "Andrew then came in and did an outstanding job of shutting the door on Covenant."
Joe Gatewood shut the door single-handedly on the Scots on the offensive end by giving Bluefield an early, comfortable lead allowing the Rams pitchers to not only be patient, but also go after batter at times when they usually wouldn't in a tight game.
Gatewood finished with 5 RBI's on a 2 for 3 night at the plate. Goodyear chipped in with an RBI, going 2 for 3 as well.
The 7-4 win advances Bluefield into the Championship game on Thursday afternoon against either Mid-Continent or Covenant again. The Rams have set themselves up in an extremely good scenario as they will have to be beaten twice in the championship round to end their run. They will only need one win to earn an automatic berth into the NCCAA National Championship in Mason, Ohio next week.
The Rams will compete at 4:00pm EST, with an "if-game" not being played until 4:00pm EST on Friday afternoon.
Be sure to follow along with the Rams LIVE at the regional host's site HERE