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Home course advantage helps Milligan nail down AAC crown

Dave Ongie • Updated Apr 12, 2017 at 7:13 PM

With a conference championship there for the taking, the Milligan men’s golf team didn’t squander a golden opportunity.

The Buffs came out with a great deal of confidence on their home course and ran away with the Appalachian Athletic Conference championship on Tuesday. Milligan posted a 287 in the first round and cruised to victory on the familiar layout of Elizabethton Golf Club.

“On day one, I was a bit concerned that we would have some jitters playing our home course,” Milligan coach Tony Wallingford said. “However, it didn't take long to see as the round progressed that our guys had a nice focus and their swings appeared free and loose.”

While the nerves seemed to hit early on in the second round of the 36-hole event, the Buffs soldiered through. They battled through a windy final round to lock down a title they weren’t expected to win when the season started last fall.

“I am really proud of our players this week as we flew in under the radar and ended up winning the spring championship and capturing the regular-season crown,” Wallingford said. “I believe the slow start woke us up and put us back in the moment enabling us to settle in as the round progressed. Gusty conditions made club selection a bit more difficult on day two and scores were reflective of that.

“Nevertheless, we were able to put four quality rounds together and celebrate the win.”

Next up for the Buffs is the NAIA Direct Qualifier, which will take place at Governors Towne Club in Acworth, Georgia. Once again, the Buffs will reassume the underdog role as they look to qualify for the NAIA National Championship. Wallingford believes his team will feed off of that.

“I believe our guys are embracing the dark-horse role,” he said.

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The baseball team righted the ship over the weekend with a sweep of AAC foe Bluefield. 

The Buffs swept a doubleheader on Saturday thanks to a prolific offensive performance. Milligan plated 11 runs in the first game and 10 in the second. Clayton Conner and Chris Patterson each had five RBIs on the day while Jascanel Ferreras went 5-for-8 and scored five runs.

On Sunday, the Buffs eked out a 4-3 win to move to 9-9 in AAC play on a walkoff single by Ryan Young. Milligan starting pitcher Wyatt Richardson didn’t figure in the final decision, but his solid eight innings of work put the Buffs in position to win. Richardson allowed just two earned runs, struck out four batters and only issued one walk.

Milligan returns to AAC action this weekend against Bryan College.

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The men’s volleyball team recently wrapped up its season with a 3-0 sweep of the University of Tennessee on Senior Day inside Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.

The Buffs were led by seniors Jacob Smith, Nathan Gibson, Joshua Foote and Hobie Vannoy. Smith led the way with 16 kills and six digs. Gibson followed with 14 kills and nine digs. Foote finished the night with six kills and three block assists, and Vannoy led the offense with 38 assists and six digs.

"We are so thankful for these guys and their loyalty and dedication to the program," Milligan coach Doneva Bays said. "They have built a strong foundation for men's volleyball at Milligan College."

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