PARKVILLE, Mo. – David White fell a home run short of hitting for the cycle while Shayne Kirkwood and Austin Giannola had a pair of hits each, as Park University used crooked innings in the fourth and fifth to beat Williams Baptist College 8-4, Saturday at Comfort Field, sweeping a three-game series from the Eagles to remain alone in second place in the American Midwest Conference baseball standings.
Park (15-7, 8-1) used two pitchers in the game – sophomore Lane Noel, who went the first five innings to improve to 2-1, and senior Justin Eubanks, who took over in the sixth and went the rest of the way to get a four-inning save, striking out three.
Connor Whitney had two RBIs for the Pirates, both coming on his double to right in the fourth inning, part of a three-run fourth that regained the lead for the Pirates. John Lozano Jr. scored the first run of the game in the second inning, reaching after being hit by a pitch and moving up on a pair of balls on the infield. With Whitney at first, the Pirates executed a double steal to go up 1-0, but the lead was short-lived, when in the next half inning, Williams Baptist plated a pair of runs on a two run single by designated hitter Seth Hart.
The Pirates followed their three-run fourth inning with four in the fifth to break the game open, beginning when Kirkwood doubled in Giannola and later scored on an Eagle throwing error. White's triple was also part of the fifth, scoring Cole Doherty, and White came home a batter later when Lozano flied out to left.
Williams Baptist (9-16, 1-12) was able to make it interesting in the seventh when an error extended the inning, allowing Tyler Cole to score on a wild pitch before Hart posted his third RBI of the day, driving in Morgan Hawley with a double down the right-field line.
The Eagles couldn't get any closer than four runs, as Eubanks retired the last seven batters faced, including perfect innings in the eighth and ninth for his first save in a Park uniform.
Hart led the Eagles at the plate with three hits and three RBIs, while first baseman Nick Scott was 2-for-4 with a run. Ryan Andrews took the WBC loss, falling to 1-5, going four innings before giving way to Ethan Roberts and Jacob Jumper.
"We got great pitching today and that really allowed us to be aggressive on offense," said Park coach Cary Lundy. "We took advantage of situations at the plate where we needed to, and Lane Noel and Justin Eubanks pitched a great game. Momentum is crucial in our conference, and we have a lot of it now. Big series next week with William Woods."
Park's win did prove critical, as all three teams chasing the Pirates for second place won, Saturday. William Woods claimed its series finale at Central Baptist, Missouri Baptist completed a sweep of Harris-Stowe, and Lyon stayed closest to the Pirates, beating Hannibal-LaGrange to get to 8-2 in the AMC.
Winners in seven of their last nine games, the Pirates stay home next week for the American Midwest Conference series of the week, hosting William Woods University Friday (March 24) and Saturday (March 25) in a three-game series at Comfort Field. Friday, the teams will play a doubleheader at noon, with one game set for Saturday, also at noon. All three games will air (audio only) on the Pirate Sports Network at www.parkathletics.tv.