The McKendree University baseball team opened its final Great Lakes Valley Conference series of the season on Saturday with a pair of losses to visiting Bellarmine University Saturday afternoon at Hypes Field in Lebanon.
. The Knights outlasted the Bearcats in the opener by a score of 9-5 before taking an 8-1 decision in game two.
McKendree slips to 9-37 overall and 8-26 in GLVC play. Bellarmine improved to 26-22 and 18-16.
Tied 4-4, Bellarmine took the lead for good in the opener by scoring twice in the seventh before adding three more runs in the top of the ninth for a 9-4 advantage. McKendree loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth when Kyle Rutledge had a run-scoring infield single to bring the Bearcats within four runs. The Knights were able to record the final out with the potential tying run at the plate to preserve the game one win.
Game one on Saturday featured 27 hits in a contest that took just over three hours to complete. Each team scored a run in the first inning. After Bellarmine's Austin Crutcher hit a solo home run in the top of the first to give the Knights a 1-0 lead, McKendree countered with a run in the bottom of the frame. Kunkel started the inning with a single to center field. Following a walk to Rutledge, Groleau dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Kline then reached on an infield single to score Kunkel with the tying run.
Sophomore left-hander Mitchell Langenhorst (Germantown, IL/Mater Dei) started the opener for McKendree and allowed three earned runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Freshman right-hander Blake Deatherage (O'Fallon, IL/O'Fallon) was tagged with the loss.
Bellarmine left-hander Austin Warner tossed a complete-game three-hitter in the nightcap to help propel the Knights to the doubleheader sweep.