A.J. Alexio, Christian Draper, Jon Shiver, and Dan Richard combined for four hits, two walks, and five runs scored in innings 6 and 8 as theĀ Eagles rallied for five runs late versus the Warriors of Southern Wesleyan University Friday night in the first of a three-game series at Trinity Ball Yard. The rally, however, came up two runs short, and Southern Wesleyan won the game 7-5.

The Eagles’ first four hitters in the lineup started the comeback effort in the bottom of the sixth after falling behind 4-0. Alexio (walk), Draper (single), and Shiver (single) all reached base to start the frame. Alexio eventually scored on a wild pitch, and Shiver’s single drove home Draper to cut the deficit in half.

Trinity opened the eighth trailing 7-2 as Draper led off. Draper walked, and Shiver legged out an infield single while Draper advanced to third on a throwing error on the same play. Richard followed with a solid run-scoring single up the middle. Shiver eventually scored on a wild pitch, and David Hall drove home Richard with a hard line-drive sacrifice fly to center.

The Eagles threatened for more, but strong Warriors defense stopped the rally, and Southern Wesleyan held on for the win.

The Warriors got a run in the top of the fourth and three in the sixth to build their 4-0 lead. After Trinity scored two, Southern Wesleyan’s Julio Justo hit a three-run home run to left to make the score 7-2. Justo drove in four runs in all, and Quinton Bent had two RBI of his own. Jesse Getford also drove in a run for Southern Wesleyan.

Trinity threw out two runners on the base paths. The first was a 9-3-2 to end the second with the out at the plate, and the second was 8-6-5 put-out to end the fourth. Jean Rivera started the second-inning play, and Shiver’s throw led to the final out of the fourth.

Shiver and Richard had two hits each while Alexio, Draper, Hall, and Austin Hiller all hit safely for the Eagles.

Matt Carter was solid in his 5 1/3 innings of work. He pitched the first four innings of one-run ball and finished the night with two earned runs allowed on five hits while walking one and fanning four. Uriah Brewer also took the mound, and Cole Collier finished the game with two scoreless innings in which he struck out three.

The two teams will battle twice on Saturday. Game 1 begins at 12:00 noon EST, and Game 2 is slated for 3:00 p.m. The Eagles will then have two weeks before their next series, a three-game set with Truett-McConnell College on February 23 and 24.

–Raymond Bureau, TBC