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Baseball: Rayno's big day propels LWC past Olivet Nazarene

At Egnew Park, the Lindsey Wilson baseball team opened the home portion of its 2023 schedule in style with a two-game sweep of (RV) Olivet Nazarene.

The pair of victories push the Blue Raiders to 4-1 overall, their best five-game start to a season since 2015.

Austin Rayno and Chance Stayton dominated the Tigers' pitching staff with three hits each, including the game-winning walk-off home run by Rayno in the nightcap.

On the bump, three different pitchers combined for 22 strikeouts for the locals as the Olivet Nazarene offense was held to five runs on nine hits across both games.

Game One | Lindsey Wilson 8, Olivet Nazarene 3
Against the harsh winds of mother nature, game one of Thursday afternoon began as a pitching dual between Lindsey Wilson's Cohen Achen and Olivet Nazarene's Nolan Belschner. The latter of the two allowed just one hit over the first three innings, while Achen settled in quickly after a shaky first frame to surrender just three hits altogether.

During that first inning, the Tigers garnered one run off a sacrifice flyout, but they did not strike again until it was too late.

The Blue Raiders notched their first score of the day in the bottom leg of the fourth inning when a Rayno double soared down the left field line to plate Sam Gage. Then, in the local's next plate appearance, a pair of singles from Jonathan Gallagher and Michael Sizemore set up Stayton for a bases-clearing rocket over the left field fence.

Lindsey Wilson's fifth-inning barrage continued a handful of batters later, as Rayno tacked on two additional RBIs with his second double in as many visits to the box.

Leading 6-1 into the sixth frame, the Blue Raiders added some much-needed insurance off the bat of Stayton. This time, the sophomore smacked a double of his own to deep right-center field, scoring Cody Fallon and Matthew Schultz.

Olivet Nazarene managed to push two runs across in the top half of the seventh inning, but Achen locked in to retire the final two batters he faced, solidifying his first victory of the season.

Game Two | Lindsey Wilson 3, Olivet Nazarene 2 (9 Innings)
The visitor's rotation did better to limit the Blue Raiders' big bats in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader. However, when it came down to Rayno in the bottom of the ninth, the local's veteran left no doubt.

On a 2-1 count with one out recorded, Rayno launched a fly ball deep into the Columbia night, sending the Lindsey Wilson bench and the fans in attendance into a frenzy.

The dramatic hit came after the Blue Raiders had battled in the seventh inning to tie the game at 2-2 and was the team's only hit of the two extra frames.

Much like in the first game, the Tigers opened the scoring in their first at-bat. Though, this time around, Lindsey Wilson found a swift response thanks to a solo home run by Jordan Blick in the following half inning.

Olivet Nazarene got back in front in the third, 2-1, then utilized a stellar defensive effort to bring the locals to the brink.

With five scoreless innings behind them, the Blue Raiders got right to work in the seventh inning to try and find an equalizer. Lucas Bault led off the frame with a double to center field before being subbed out for pinch-runner Fallon. Following a subsequent walk to Thorne Gray, the hosts found themselves down to their last out when Gabe Board stepped up to the plate and delivered an RBI-single into the gap in right field, plating Fallon to knot the score.

In extras, reliever Glenn Simes, who had checked in for starter Mason Malone in the seventh inning, kept a tight rein on the Tigers, surrendering only one hit in the eighth to keep Lindsey Wilson's hopes alive. The southpaw's performance earned him his first win of 2023.

Malone closed his start with an impressive 11 batters retired on strikes and four hits allowed over six innings of work.

Lindsey Wilson and Olivet Nazarene will meet again on Friday afternoon at the same time at the same place. The action from Egnew Park is slated to begin at 2pmCT.

This story was posted on 2023-02-10 08:11:17
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