Seventh-inning small ball sends Scots past Johnson, 4-3

Seventh-inning small ball sends Scots past Johnson, 4-3

A trio of seventh-inning bunts aided Maryville, as the Scots held off a ninth-inning Johnson University rally for a 4-3 win on Scotland Yard.

Maryville recorded back-to-back squeeze bunts by Patrick Messinger and Hayden Hollingsworth to score a pair of runs in the three-run inning to hold off the win. MC's bullpen fought off the rally to move to 2-0 on the year.

Maryville struck first in the bottom of the fifth inning. Derek Hurt used a leadoff single to left, as a lackadaisical play allowed him to advance to second. Patrick Messinger used a sacrifice bunt to move Hurt to third, before a Hollingsworth RBI groundout would score the right fielder for a 1-0 Scots' advantage.

Johnson University would counter, however, in the top of the sixth. Geo Cruz singled down the left-field line, before he was sacrificed to second by Riley Cooper. Dalton Pruitt found an RBI single up the middle to score Cooper from second, knotting the game at 1-all.

Maryville would rally again in the bottom of the seventh. Bryce Redaja drew a leadoff walk, before Mike Homan singled through the left side to put two runners on with no outs. Hurt's sacrifice bunt was bobbled by Luke Shepherd, as all runners advanced. Redaja scored from second on the play, as the Scots held runners on second and third. Patrick Messinger and Hollingsworth pulled off back-to-back squeeze bunts to score both Homan and Hurt from third. The plays gave Maryville a 4-1 lead heading to the eighth.

Ricky Ward would come to the mound in the top of the eighth, stifling the Royals. The senior right-handed hurler struck out the side in the inning to preserve Maryville's three-run lead.

However, Johnson would find momentum in the ninth, behind a leadoff Caleb Lee single through the left side. Jonathan Howard would blast a two-run shot to left-center, cutting Maryville's lead to just one with no outs in the inning.

The Scots' Zach McGee would come on to earn the first out via strikeout. Zach Messinger took the mound, as Maryville gave up an error to put a runner on. The righty pulled a pick-off move, as Joey Tomlinson laid the tag for the second out. A fly out would give Zach Messinger the save, as the Scots took the win, 4-3.

Maryville (2-0) was led by Hurt who went 1-for-2 with a pair of runs scored. Jake Petersen recorded a 2-for-3 afternoon with a walk, while Homan went 1-for-2 with a run scored. Hollingsworth recorded a pair of RBI on an 0-for-3 afternoon, as Redaja scored the remaining run for Maryville.

Johnson (0-4) saw six Royals recorded hits, as Howard's homer left him 1-for-3 with a run and a pair of RBI. Cruz and Lee both added runs for Johnson in the loss.

Maryville's weekend series against Roanoke College has been cancelled due the impending forecast. The Scots will look next to travel to Danville, Ky. For a Feb. 14 game against Centre College. They return home on Saturday, Feb. 17 for a three-game weekend versus Southern Vermont.