By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor
On Saturday, the Young Harris College baseball team fell 14-10 to the visiting North Greenville University as six team errors plagued the Mountain Lions defense.
The Crusaders (23-9) stuck first by scoring a run in the first inning of game one in Saturday’s doubleheader.
The Mountain Lions (17-18) answered with one run in the bottom of the third off of a run driven in by freshman. David Atwood. Atwood later scored by way of a two-run home run from sophomore Josh Rudnik. This was Rudnik’s fourth home run of the season.
North Greenville plated four runs in the top of the third inning to put the Crusaders on top 5-3 after YHC committed three fielding errors.
“It’s simple. It’s what I’ve said all along,” said YHC Baseball Head Coach Rick Robinson. “When you play defense you win, when you don’t play defense you don’t win.”
YHC scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game up at 5-5.
North Greenville started a late rally in the top of the seventh inning as Adam Taylor plated Brian Giles on a single. The rally resulted in a 9-5 Crusaders lead as the game entered the bottom of the seventh.
The Mountain Lions answered the Crusaders’ rally with one of their own when freshman Jack Morrow plated freshman David Atwood with an RBI single. YHC continued to rally as freshman Evan Carr scored off of a single by freshman Trey Rogers.
Freshman Ryan LaRose put the Mountain Lions within one run of the Crusaders after plating freshman Jack Morrow by way of a single. With one out in the bottom of the seventh and the bases loaded, sophomore Zach Bricknell attempted a sacrifice bunt, but Rogers was thrown out at the plate.
Freshman Tommy Ferguson then plated Mike Medori and Josh Rudnik to give the Mountain Lions a 10-9 lead at the end of the seventh inning.
The Crusaders battled back in the top of the eighth inning as freshman Adam Moore allowed North Greenville to score five runs. The rally by North Greenville gave the Crusaders a 14-10 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.
YHC held off North Greenville in the ninth inning with the pitching of freshman Taylor Topping, but the Mountain Lions were unable to recover from the four run deficit resulting in a 14-10 Crusaders victory.
Rudnik (3-3) started on the mound for YHC. Rudnik threw for six innings and allowed four runs on four hits and six strikeouts. Rudnik was relieved by freshmen Oliver Pratt (2-1), Adam Moore, and Taylor Topping.
Drew Provence started on the mound for North Greenville and earned his third win of the season. Provence pitched 6.1 innings and allowed six runs on 12 hits with five strikeouts. Provence was relieved by Caleb Phillips and Nate Richards.
The Saturday doubleheader for the Mountain Lions was preceded by a youth baseball clinic given by YHC players and coaches that was free for all that attended. The clinic started at 11 a.m. and the 35 youth baseball players that attended the clinic were provided a free meal and also invited to attend the doubleheader between the Crusaders and the Mountain Lions.
“We have done that every year,” said Robinson. “People enjoy coming out and watching their kids work with the players. I am all about helping the community and making the community feel part of the college.”
The Saturday also featured YHC baseball’s Junior Day, which attracted a number of high school recruits that have been targeted by the Mountain Lions. The high school juniors were given a tour of the YHC campus and invited to watch the match-up between YHC and North Greenville.
By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor
Yesterday, the Young Harris College baseball team defeated Indiana University of Pennsylvania 19-4 in the first game of the Chad Gassman Classic.
The Chad Gassman Classic is a weekend series at Zell B. Miller Field that hosts YHC, IUP and Waldorf College. YHC is competing in the series in its first year as a four-year institution.
Freshman Adam Moore started on the mound for YHC. Moore (3-2) threw for five innings giving up four runs and four hits. Moore earned seven strikeouts while giving up three walks. Freshman Oliver Pratt gave up one hit in his two innings of relief to finish out the game for YHC.
Chris Douglas (1-1) started on the mound for the Crimson Hawks, giving up ten runs in just over two innings.
The Mountain Lions were led by the bats of freshman Jack Morrow, sophomore Zach Bricknell and freshman Ryan LaRose. Morrow struck for three hits on the day while Bricknell and LaRose each had two.
In the first inning, YHC (10-9) jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Crimson Hawks. The first Mountain Lions run was scored when Morrow knocked in Bricknell with a base hit. Freshman David Atwood would also score in the inning. Atwood’s run was followed by scoring of YHC base runners Rudnik and Moore.
IUP (2-3) answered by battling back in the top of the second inning with a four-run rally of their own when senior Frank Sirolli drove in three runs by delivering a two-out triple. At the end of two innings, the game was tied at four.
YHC busted the game wide open with a six-run rally in the bottom of the third inning to give the Mountain Lions a 10-4 lead.
The Mountain Lions used this same momentum to jump out to a 16-4 lead in the fourth inning thanks to another six-run rally.
YHC sealed the victory by scoring three runs in the sixth inning to give them a 19-4 lead. The score would cause the game to end in seven innings, resulting in a win for the Mountain Lions.
By Leila Shearon, Staff Writer
Baseball is in the air at Young Harris College, but the sun is not the only thing shining. Josh Rudnik, a sophomore business major from Buford High School, is currently one of only three returning players on the Mountain Lions baseball team.
Rudnik began his baseball career at a young age. Beginning at the age of five, Rudnik played t-ball for his home town Texas Rangers, a youth baseball team. He continued to play through high school where he also played football. Rudnik’s neighbor, Ty Miller, was a member of the YHC baseball team during the 2005-2006 seasons. Miller has been credited with planting YHC into Rudnik’s persona.
Rudnik’s athleticism comes from a family tradition of sportsmanship. His father played baseball at the University of Detroit, and his younger sister Alysha Rudnik is a catcher for the Georgia Tech softball team.
“We still throw together during school breaks,” said Rudnik.
This sophomore leader takes pride in both his pitching and hitting abilities. Rudnik’s fastball has been clocked at a top speed of 91miles per hour. Last season Rudnik batted .375 and slugged .688. He also delivered 24 strikeouts for the Mountain Lions pitching staff.
This season Rudnik is helping to lead a team of 22 freshman and three sophomores. He feels confident about the season despite the age deficit.
“We are young and learning, but we have the talent to be great,” said Rudnik.
Rudnik both dreams big and achieves big. He aspires to one day play for Major League Baseball’s the Atlanta Braves. He has also made it his goal to visit all 30 major league stadiums. So far Rudnik has attended games at major league vicinities such as Fenway Park, the Great American Ball Park, Turner Field, Coors Field and Camden Yards.
Aside from a career in baseball, Rudnik has a love for animals as well. The pitcher has hopes to one day spend his time away from baseball breeding chocolate labs.
“Hard work pays off,” said Rudnik.
Rudnik will follow this creed as he prepares to blend his knowledge and talent of sports with the pursuit of a business degree.
with information from wire reports
BELMONT, N.C. – After winning the first match-up Friday over Belmont Abbey, the Young Harris College Mountain Lions dropped both games of a Saturday doubleheader by scores of 11-3 and 17-9.
Young Harris College (1-5) got productive offensive afternoons from Zach Bricknell (4 H, 1 2B, 2 RBI) and Josh Rudnik (4 H, 1 RBI) in the losses. Rudnik (3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) took the loss in the first game, while Adam Moore (3.2 IP, 10 H, 10 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) was the losing pitcher for the Mountain Lions in the second game.
The Mountain Lions will conclude their four-game series with Belmont Abbey College (6-3) this afternoon with a 1:00pm game at Abbey Field.