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Milligan baseball, softball coming off successful week

Daniel Manget • Feb 28, 2019 at 5:38 PM

After a rough start to their seasons, the baseball and softball teams at Milligan College are coming off a successful week. The Buffs continue to battle rain, but first-year head coach David Grewe has the baseball team victorious in three of the last four while 31st-year head coach, Wes Holly, has the softball team coming off its first two wins of the year.

Milligan baseball (4-6) has canceled or postponed seven games already this season, but things are still looking up as the Buffs are fresh off an 11-4 win at King University and a win in a three-game series at Brewton-Parker College. Four Buffaloes are batting over .300 through 10 games, led by Blake Dutton at .395. Freshman Chance Hall is the team’s home run leader with three dingers.

On the hill, junior Wyatt Sowers and Hall are both 1-0 in three appearances.

Jaclyn Jenkins is Milligan’s hitting leader on the other diamond, posting a batting average of .357 through the softball team’s first eight games. The Buffs are 2-6, although they started the season with six losses against NCAA Division II teams who have a combined win-loss record of 23-7.

Most recently, a pair of gems inside the circle from freshman Erin Forgety and senior Kassi Butcher led the Buffs to a doubleheader sweep at University of Pikeville. Forgety is the team’s ERA leader with a 4.92 in 21.1 innings pitched.

CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON ALSO AHEAD

Meanwhile, three Milligan programs are competing for national titles at their respective NAIA championships this week and next. The swimming team is in Columbus, Georgia, Wednesday through Saturday with 16 individuals competing. Milligan’s indoor track & field program has 10 competing in Brookings, South Dakota, Thursday through Saturday. The Milligan women’s basketball team will compete next week as a No. 5 seed with its opening-round game set for Thursday morning.

Sophomore Margaret Halloran, a three-time All-American last season, highlights the list of Milligan swimmers as she competes in eight events, including three individual events. Junior Sara Farmer, an All-American last season in the 100 backstroke, also is set to compete in three individual events.

Senior Liz Maller stands out front on Milligan’s track & field team, returning as an indoor shot put All-American from last season. Maller is one of a handful of Buffaloes who qualified in multiple events.

Tim Thacker, who will run the mile, qualified in the mile, 1k and 800 meters; Maller qualified and will compete in the shot put and weight throw; junior Erica Stone (1k), freshman Bekah Owen (1k) and freshman Gabrielle Mardis (3k) all qualified individually along with earning a qualifier in both the 4x800 meter relay and distance medley relay.

Freshman Rasheem Brown stands out on the men’s side as he is the NAIA’s top hurdler over 60 meters this season. In fact, all three Buffs competing at the men’s national championships boast national rankings inside the top six. Thacker is No. 3 in the mile, and junior Tons Ferguson is No. 6 in the triple jump.

On the court, Milligan’s women’s basketball team is set to face University of St. Francis (Ill.) next Thursday. It will be a clash of two of the NAIA’s winningest active coaches as Milligan coach Rich Aubrey (507 career wins) will face St. Francis coach Steve Brooks (514 career wins).

This marks Aubrey’s eighth time leading the Buffs to the national tournament after doing so four consecutive years from 1997-2000, again in 2013, and back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. Among Aubrey's seven previous trips to the national tournament, the Buffs have advanced to the Sweet 16 twice.

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