After falling to Grace, Indiana Wesleyan and Taylor in the opening days of league play, the Pilots have been on a revenge tour. Following their 8-2 win over IWU on Wednesday, the Pilots have now successfully knocked off all three teams consecutively, tallying four straight wins. The win bumps Bethel’s overall record to 13-6 while their league record inches closer to .500 as they sit at 4-5.
The Pilots were able to put together a great all-around performance on Wednesday anchored by senior hurler Caleb McPherson who tossed a complete game, which included nine innings of work. Over the course of the contest, McPherson held IWU to just six hits while fanning four. While the two runs the Wildcats tallied were both earned, the Pilots’ offense had plenty of firepower to control the game from the start.
Lead-off batter Austin Branock set the tone for BC in his first at-bat when he reached on a walk. Following the first single of the day, a single from Collin Affolder, a sacrifice bunt by Heath Brooksher moved both runners into scoring position with just one out recorded. The Pilots picked up a single from Mike Waither and Marvin Montgomery in the frame and were aided by two IWU miscues and a wild pitch, all of which combined to put three BC runners across the plate.
The offense kept pace in the second with singles from Brandon Diss, Affolder and Waither that helped generate BC’s fourth and fifth runs of the day.
After giving up a pair of hits and a run in the bottom of the third, BC responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, which grew their advantage to six. One more run in the top of the sixth frame ballooned BC’s lead to seven, their biggest of the ball game. That margin held true as McPherson sent IWU down in order in the bottom of the seventh and pitched his way out of a jam in the eighth that featured a bases-loaded scenario with just one out recorded. Thanks to back-to-back outs against the heart of IWU’s lineup, the Pilots entered the final frame on top 8-1.
The Pilots were retired quickly in their half of the ninth, but IWU didn’t go as quietly. A leadoff solo home run gave the Wildcats a glimmer of hope, but the rally ended shortly thereafter with the scoreboard lit up 8-2 in favor of the Pilots.
The combo of Waither and Affolder finished with five of BC’s 10 hits while Branock, Diss and Thomas Smith each touched the plate twice.
The Pilots are scheduled to face Goshen in three contests this weekend, starting with a nine-inning affair on Friday at 3:00 p.m. BC will then take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday in a doubleheader featuring a seven-inning and a nine-inning contest. All three games will be played on the campus of Goshen College.