Taylor Edged Out of Crossroads League Tournament
UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor had its hopes of a Crossroads League Tournament Championship come to an end on Tuesday afternoon, as the once red-hot lineup struggled to find the key hits for the second game in a row and fell by a 2-1 margin to Huntington in an elimination contest.
The Trojans littered the base paths with stranded runners throughout the early innings, as the HU pitcher offered five free passes through the first four innings. TU put its leadoff man on to open each of those four frames, twice loading the bases without pushing a run across and leaving seven men on the bases.
Taylor would push a runner into scoring position in seven of the nine innings, but settled for the one tally after stranding 11 runners on the bases.
TU’s lone run of the game came in the top of the eighth when Andrew Kennedy and Brett Lawson delivered back-to-back two-out hits to knot the score at 1-1.
Just as Taylor’s offense abruptly slowed over the past three games, it was another uncharacteristic defensive miscue in the bottom of the ninth that opened the door on HU’s unearned game-winning score.
Wyatt Whitman delivered one double among his two hits and earned one walk to lead the lineup, while Kennedy reached safely three times and scored once.
Matt Patton tossed six scoreless innings to earn a no-decision, fanning six batters to become Taylor’s single-season strikeout leader with 99 whiffs.
The loss brings an end to TU’s tournament run, as the Trojans hit .194 over the final three contests and mustered only three runs over its final 28 innings, after blasting Mount Vernon Nazarene for 19 runs in the tournament opener.
Taylor (43-14) will now await the unveiling of the bracket for the 2018 NAIA National Tournament Opening Round to find out what other four teams will join the Trojans in the Upland Bracket on May 14-17. The field will be announced at 4:00 pm (ET) on Thursday, May 10.