JACKSON, Tenn. - 5/2/2012 - The Union University baseball team survived a very game Blue Mountain (Miss.) College team to win 11-10 Wednesday in day three of the 2012 TranSouth Conference Baseball Tournament. Union, the 2-seed, won their third tournament game, improving to 36-17-1 on the year. Blue Mountain, the 6-seed dropped their first tournament game after two upset wins on the first two day, dropping their overall record to 24-30.
The win for Union earned the Bulldogs a spot in the tournament championship game for the fourth straight season. Union won the tournament title in 2009 and 2011 and finish runner-up to eventual NAIA National Champion, Cumberland, in 2010. The last team to advance to at least four straight tournament title games was Cumberland’s run of six straight from 2003 to 2008, winning the title in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Union fell behind early as Blue Mountain scored an unearned run in the first, followed by three runs in the second to lead 4-0. In each of the first two upset wins for Blue Mountain in this tournament, they scored five runs in the first inning both games.
However, Union was able to respond. The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the third inning for clean-up hitter Doug Joyce. Joyce did just that as he hit a line drive over the left field wall for a game-tying grand slam. Union added three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth inning to rally for an 8-4 lead.
Blue Mountain responded, scoring two runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth to take a 9-8 lead going into the top of the seventh. Union was playing as the visiting team on the scoreboard. Joyce came up in the top of the seventh and hit a towering fly ball that carried over the left field fence for his second homer of the game. Union added two runs in the top of the eighth inning to lead 11-9. Blue Mountain threatened in the bottom of the ninth, scoring one run and having the tying run at first with two outs. But it was senior reliever Cody Dew (11-1) who tossed the final 3.2 innings, including striking out the final hitter of the game to secure the win. Dew allowed five hits and one run with three strikeouts.
Union was led by Kody Pinson with three hits, while Joyce, Danny Grimm and RJ Rayborn added two hits each. Grimm was a perfect 7-for-7 in the tournament with five walks, to sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly until he was retired in his final at bat in this game. Joyce’s five RBI was a team high. Hunter Mize for Blue Mountain led with three hits. His team pounded out 15 hits in the game.
Union awaits the loser’s bracket survivor for a noon game Thursday. Union needs just one win to claim a second straight tournament title and third in four seasons. Martin Methodist and Cumberland play an elimination game, with the winner facing Blue Mountain late Wednesday. That winner will need to defeat Union twice Thursday to claim the title.
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