HU's postseason run comes to end at hands of Faulkner

The Huntington University baseball team’s postseason run came to an end with an 8-4 loss to Faulkner University in the Montgomery, AL, bracket of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round on Wednesday, May 17.

The defeat was the Foresters’ second to the Eagles in as many days. The first setback, a 3-0 decision, dropped third-seeded Huntington to the tournament’s losers bracket, where it faced fifth-seeded Truett McConnell University on Wednesday afternoon and eliminated the Bears, 11-6, to set up a rematch with Faulkner, the top seed, that evening.

After two scoreless innings to open the game, the Eagles broke the contest open with four runs in the bottom of the third. The Foresters countered in the following frame with a solo home run by senior Andy Roser, but Faulkner tallied three more runs in the fifth to take a commanding 7-1 lead.

Huntington remained undaunted, though. Senior Shea Beauchamp crossed home plate for the Glen Men in the sixth after sophomore Tyler Zimske got beaned with the bases loaded. Though the Eagles responded with a run in the seventh, senior Dylan Henricks smacked a solo dinger in the eighth and Zimske repeated the feat at the start of the ninth to cut the Foresters’ deficit in half.

After Zimske’s round-tripper, an error by Faulkner’s Olivier Basabe enabled junior Jamar Weaver to reach base. Following a fly out by senior Dalton Combs, Adam Roser reached base after getting plunked by a pitch and Weaver advanced to second. Unfortunately for the Foresters, their hopes of bringing either of those baserunners home were dashed as Tra’mayne Holmes managed to get Beauchamp to fly out and his relief, Jonathan Wilkins, coaxed a groundout from Henricks to end the game.

Huntington finished with four hits, one of which was a double by Combs to go along with the three solo homers.

The Foresters’ starting pitcher, Connor West, took the loss. The sophomore, 4-2, threw the first four innings, allowing five hits and six earned runs while fanning two and walking two. Junior Tarrin Beachy, senior Mason Coy and sophomore Caleb Landrum combined to pitch the final four innings.

After opening the season with five losses in seven games, Huntington went on a 33-8 run that was highlighted by a 12-game winning streak. The Glen Men captured the Crossroads League regular-season title, as well as the conference tournament crown. They finish the year 35-13.

Accordingly, the team’s head coach, Mike Frame, has high praise for his squad.

“This is the best team I have ever had and a tremendous group of kids,” he says. “They fought for three days in 90-degree heat, but just ran into a Faulkner team that was better. It is tough for this season to come to an end.”