GREAT BEND – The Bethany College baseball team used outstanding pitching and timely hitting to beat the University of Saint Mary 5-1 Wednesday in the first round of the KCAC Baseball Tournament.
Bethany got on the board early, scoring in the first inning, and used the middle innings to extend the lead. The Swedes played solid defense behind Dan Eck, the Co-Pitcher of the Year in the KCAC, who showed why he was one of the top pitchers in the league. Eck pitched seven complete innings only allowing three hits, but striking out four.
Robert Johnson replaced Eck in the eighth inning and he only allowed one hit. Johnson also ended the inning with a strikeout. After giving up a double and a single in the ninth inning, Johnson was replaced by Clayton Cozzitorto. Cozzitorto struck out the first batter and forced a shallow fly ball to the second he faced. A ground ball put the Swedes in position to finish the game, but an error extended the inning and also allowed the first run of the game. The run did not rattle Cozzitorto as he got the next batter he faced to strike out swinging.
"This was a great team win tonight," Bethany coach Andrew Bartman said. "Eck was outstanding on the mound, and we finally got some timely hits, which we had struggled with at times throughout the year. We cannot wait to play Tabor tomorrow."
Daniel Hordo, Pablo Contreras and Nicholas Ceccarelli were all 2-for-3 at the plate. Hordo drove in three runs while Contreras and Ceccarelli each had a single RBI. As the leadoff hitter, Sammeul Ramirez had two hits and scored three of Bethany's runs.
The Swedes will play the top-ranked team in the conference, the Tabor College Bluejays, today at 3 in the winner’s bracket.