McClellan burns Rockets with the bat
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
Michael McClellan burned the Catholic Rockets again, this time with his bat.
Two days after whitewashing the Rockets on four hits in Little Rock, McClellan slapped a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the eight to drive in the winning run in a 3-2 victory at Ashley Park that gave the Bryant Hornets a home-and-home sweep of Catholic.
Billy Landers had walked to lead-off the eighth and J.J. Yant had sacrificed him to second to set up McClellan’s game-winner which came on a 1-0 delivery from Catholic’s Brian Edelman.
It was the second hit of the game for McClellan and made a winner of Yant who came on in relief of starter Daniel Bennett in the seventh.
Both of Catholic’s runs off of Bennett were unearned. In six innings-plus, Bennett struck out nine and walked just one while scattering four hits.
He and the Rockets’ Josh Oliver were locked in a scoreless duel over the first three innings before the Hornets took the lead in the fourth. Yant snapped the deadlock with a lead-off home run to right center. An out later, Kris Kuykendall and Anthony Rose singled. After a double steal moved the runners up, Kuykendall was out at the plate on an unsuccessful squeeze attempt. But Josh Caldwell, who had missed the bunt attempt, picked himself up on the next pitch, slapping an RBI single up the middle to make it 2-0.
Bennett kept it that way until the sixth when his string of retiring 11 in a row ended with an error that allowed Scott Gallagher to reach base. An out later, another error kept the inning going. A single loaded the bases and, an out later, Edelman walked to force in a run.
But Bennett ended it there, stranding three with a strikeout as Yant, the catcher, held a two-strike foul tip.
McClellan led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and was sacrificed to second by Kuykendall only to be stranded.
That set up Catholic’s game-tying uprising in the top of the seventh. Bennett surrendered a lead-off single to Owen Handloser and gave way to Yant. A pair of errors allowed Handloser to reach third with one out. He scored the tying run on a groundout by Joe Rugger. Yant then fanned Matt Selig to end the inning with the game tied at 2.
Oliver worked around a one-out error in the bottom of the seventh. Yant gave up a one-out walk in the top of the eighth but nothing came of it, setting up Bryant’s game-winning rally in the bottom of the inning.
The win was Bryant’s third in a row and improved its record to 4-3 on the season going into Friday’s home game with Lake Hamilton.