Pikeville, KY- Falcons baseball has hit a tough stretch over the last four games as they have battled the elements, schedule changes, and now have lost four games in a row as they were swept this afternoon by the University of Pikeville Bears (6-9). After dropping game 1, 9-3, the Falcons dropped to 14-8 this season losing the nightcap 16-4 in a pair of seven inning games.
Game 1- The Pikeville Bears jumped on Falcons starter Norberto Ceballos (Loiza, PR) in the bottom of the second inning for three runs after he pitched a clean first. The Bears took advantage of hit batsman and a Falcons error to keep the inning alive and would take a 3-0 lead after two full. UPike went right back to work in the bottom of the third, tallying a pair of runs on four hits given up by the Falcons staff. After Ceballos retired the first batter, the Bears had three straight hits forcing Coach Dulin to go to his bullpen. Jose Galan (Alta, PR) inherited a pair of runners with one out, and would allow just one to score and the Bears led 5-0 after three innings.
The Falcons got the offense going in the top of the 6th as Falcons catcher Reynaldo Mejia (Lawrence, MA) started the inning with a double to deep left center. John Batista (Lawrence, MA) followed with a double of his own, plating Ismael Tatis (Methuen, MA) who entered the game as a pinch runner for Mejia, making it a 5-1 game. Jorge Sanchez (Caguas, PR) made it three straight hits for the Falcons as he singled to load the bases, but an errant throw from the Bears second baseman allowed Batista to score making it a 5-2 game. Ivan Rivera (Brooklyn, NY) made it 5-3 as he grounded out to short allowing Sanchez to score. Bears starter Chase McKinney, still in the game, was able to limit the damage retiring the next two Falcons allowing his team to maintain a 5-3 lead. After Galan retired the first two Bears to start the frame by way of the K, he followed it with three walks, a hit batter and a single allowing the Bears to tack on some insurance runs. Angel Rivera (Caguas, PR) replaced Galan and forced a ground ball with the bases loaded to the infield, but a fielder's choice allowed all runners to reach safely and the inning would continue with the Bears now up 8-3. A bases loaded walk forced another run in, but John Hilcher (Bloomfield, NJ) was able to further the damage striking out the last batter of the inning. The Falcons went 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th and would fall 9-3.
The Falcons bats were quiet in the game as they collected just five hits in the loss. John Batista led the way going 2 for 2 in the losing effort, with a run scored and an RBI. Ceballos suffered his first loss of the season, allowing six hits and four earned runs. Bears starter McKinney earned the win, throwing six strong innings scattering five hits and striking out five. Anthony Houk was the offensive leader for the Bears as he was 2 for 3 at the plate with a double, an RBI and three runs scored.
Game 2- Fisher looked to get the bats going early in the nightcap taking a 1-0 lead right off the bat. Jorge Sanchez continued his productivity in the leadoff spot, starting the game with an infield single. He moved up a base on a Bears error putting Ivan Rivera at one for Mitchell Lundholm (Plymouth, MA). Lundholm smacked a single to right but it was not deep enough for Sanchez to score making it bases loaded with no outs. Jonathan Rosado (Bayamon, PR) hit a sharp grounder that the Bears were able to convert into a double play, allowing Sanchez to score, taking a 1-0 after one. But again the Bears responded right away in the bottom of the inning. Fisher's starter Wesley Lopez (Caguas, PR) was not able to get out of the first as the Bears tallied four runs on four hits and a walk. John Travieso (Miami, FL) was able to get the Falcons out of the jam forcing a pop-up to the infield with the bases loaded for the final out, and would find themselves down 4-1 after the first.
The Falcons got back on the board in the top of the third as Rivera started the inning off with a single to center. With one out, Rosado reached on an error by the Bears infield, and was then plated by a John Batista double, his second of the day bringing them to within two after the top of the third. The Bears would break open the game in the bottom of the frame though, scoring seven runs on five hits, three hit batsman and a pair of walks off the Falcons relievers and would take an 11-2 lead after three complete. They tacked on three more in the bottom of the 4th on just two hits. The Falcons battled for a pair of runs in the fifth inning as Lundholm started the rally with a single to left field. Batista followed with another hit, his fourth of the afternoon, putting runners at first and second with one out. Joshua Rogers (Highlands Ranch, CO) smacked a double to deep right center, scoring both runners to bring the score to 14-4. But the Bears pitching closed the door on the offense the rest of the way, and were able to come away with a 16-4 victory.
Lundholm, Rogers and Batista each collected a pair of hits in the nightcap and accounted for the three RBI's and two double in the losing effort. Wesley Lopez took the loss for the Falcons, his first of the season. The Bears banged out 16 hits in the victory, with Tyler Menrath and Luke Lubinicki each collecting three hits a piece for the home team. Charlie Cokley earned the win on the mound, pitching four innings allowing four hits and striking out three.
With the loss the Falcons have lost eight of their last nine games, and will look to turn things around Tuesday afternoon as they take on the University of the Cumberlands who are 15-2 on the year. The two teams will square off in doubleheader action at 1pm. You can follow the action live here.