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Milligan baseball outlasts Montreat in AAC tournament

Kingsport, Tenn. (May 1, 2013) — The No. 4 Milligan College baseball team outlasted No. 8 Montreat College for a 9-8 victory in 12 innings to advance in the 2013 Appalachian Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament on Wednesday at Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport, Tenn. The Buffaloes will face the loser of Wednesday night’s No. 1 Tennessee Wesleyan and No. 5 Reinhardt matchup at 1:30 p.m., on Thursday in an elimination game.

The Buffaloes opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as Hunter Carpenter (Sneedville, Tenn.) hit a double to drive Corey McPherson (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Luke Kirk (Gate City, Va.) across home plate as Milligan took a 2-0 lead into the second inning. However, the Cavaliers plated two runs in the second and a single run in the third to take a 3-1 lead.

Milligan battled back to regain the lead in the bottom of the third inning as Tyree Jeffries (Jackson, Tenn.) scored off a Brandon Malone (Maryville, Tenn.) double, and Nathan Millsap (Kingsport, Tenn.) used a double to drive Malone in to score. Montreat struck for three runs in the top of the fourth, but the Buffaloes responded as McPherson scored off a Kirk single. Milligan kept the inning going as Malone drove Kirk across home plate to tie the game at 6-6 after four complete innings.

After the Buffaloes retired the Cavaliers in order to open the fifth inning, Chavez Golden (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) led off the Buffaloes with a double, and then scored on a McPherson single to give Milligan a 7-6 lead. Montreat came back in the top of the sixth with two runs. However, Jeffries scored off a Carpenter single to tie the game at 8-8 entering the seventh inning. Neither team was able to score a run in the seventh or eighth inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Blake Buck (Maryville, Tenn.) and McPherson got on base, but Milligan was unable to drive the runs across home plate before the game went into extra innings. The Buffaloes stranded a runner in the 10th and saw Cody Hyder (Elizabethton, Tenn.) thrown out at home plate in the 11th, while retiring Montreat in order in both innings. After retiring Montreat in order in the top of the 12th inning, Carpenter drove Kirk across home plate to send the Buffaloes to victory.

McPherson led the way at the plate for Milligan as he was 4-for-5 with two runs scored. Carpenter finished the game 3-for-7 with four RBIs, while Malone was 3-for-6 with two RBIs.

Justin Johnson (Black Mountain, N.C.) picked up the win in three innings of work as he did not allow a baserunner. Ethan Fleenor (Kingsport, Tenn.) received a no-decision in just over three innings of work. Fleenor allowed four earned runs on eight hits.

With the win, Milligan improves to 25-24 on the season.

The Buffaloes return to action on Thursday, May 2, as they square off in an elimination game against No. 5 Reinhardt University. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m., at Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport, Tenn. The winner will advance to a 7 p.m., game against No. 1 Tennessee Wesleyan.