Milligan College had a two-game lead and the schedule in its favor as the softball regular season wound down.
The Buffs weren’t able to capitalize. They lost five of their last six – all at home – to relinquish the lead in the Appalachian Athletic Conference and now find themselves in a battle for second place.
Bryan visits Anglin Field for a double-header today that will decide who takes the 2-seed for the conference tournament next week. Both teams have four losses.
Reinhardt (17-3) has already locked up the regular-season championship.
Milligan (14-4, 18-15) would still be in great position if not for a sweep at the hands of Columbia, the fifth-place team, last week. The Buffs were shut out in both games, then split with eighth-place Point.
“Our hitting has slumped a little bit lately, and we just didn’t show up against Columbia,” coach Wes Holly said Thursday. “You gotta win the ones you’re supposed to win. I think we’ve succumbed to some pressure, or got distracted or something.”
The home field hasn’t been a great advantage for Milligan this season.
“We’re 11-3 on the road and 7-12 at home,” said Holly. “We haven’t protected our house, so to speak. I don’t understand that with the girls this year.”
Of course, carrying that No. 1 seed into the AAC tournament at Domtar Park in Kingsport next week brings no guarantees. Reinhardt had it last year and lost twice to Milligan, which went on to a runner-up finish.
Holly, in his 26th season at Milligan, never pays much attention to seedings anyway.
“It really doesn’t matter, because it’s a new deal,” he said. “We just need to get some momentum and win these last two games in the regular season.”
The baseball team is still battling for position with two conference series remaining.
The Buffs are 11-10 in the AAC and tied for fifth place. But they’re only three games down in the loss column to front-running Tennessee Wesleyan, a team they nearly swept last weekend.
The Buffs lost two games at Berea, and were set to host 22nd-ranked Point Park of Pennsylvania in another non-conference double-header Thursday night. They get back into league play Saturday at St. Andrews, the team they’re currently tied with in the standings.
The regular season ends with a home double-header next weekend against Montreat.
Milligan won the AAC’s two-part championship in men’s golf, encompassing 36-hole tournaments in the fall and spring, but that didn’t count for much with a national berth on the line.
Tennessee Wesleyan earned the spot by easily winning the NAIA direct qualifier Tuesday in Acworth, Ga. The Bulldogs’ 906 total was 25 strokes better than Milligan, which finished fourth.
Just 11 players shot in the 70s on a cold, wet day at Governors Towne Club. One of those was junior Simon Treeby, who closed with a 78 to lead the Buffs and finish fourth individually at 227.
Teammates Mitchell Sutton and Josh Gambrell tied for 10th at 231.
Evan Ball of Tennessee Wesleyan was medalist with rounds of 75-70-75—220.comments powered by Disqus