• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Olson propels Midway baseball to series victory

MATTHEW OLSON, a member of the Midway University baseball team, delivered for the Eagles when he ripped a walk-off double in Midway’s 3-2 victory over Olivet Nazarene University on Saturday, Feb. 25. (Photo courtesy of Midway Univ. Athletics)

The Midway University baseball team won its first series in program history with a 3-2 win over Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) in the series finale of a three-game set on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Chandler Field. The two teams split a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 24, and it took a walk-off double by Matthew Olson in the bottom of the ninth inning to give his team the 3-2 win and lift the Eagles to their first series victory in their history. The Tigers scored first in the top of the third inning, when they scored an unearned run off junior DJ Lewis. ONU extended the lead to 2-0 after adding a run in the fifth. Midway, now 3-9 on the season, got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the fifth inning when senior Reid Battles laced a double down the left-field line to open the inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Battles moved to third. Olson then grounded out to the shortstop to score Battles from third. Lewis was pulled for junior Conner Lindsay to start the sixth inning. Lewis ended up getting the no decision after allowing two runs – one earned – on three hits in five innings of work on the mound. Lindsay got ONU out in order in the sixth inning, but ran into some trouble in the seventh when he allowed a pair of two-out hits. However, he got out of the jam with a strikeout to end the inning. The Eagles picked up the offense in the bottom of the seventh inning when they took advantage of a Tiger error. Freshman Scott Heideman reached base on an error to open the inning, and then after a single by senior Josh Wenning. Midway had runners on first and second with one out. After a the second out on a fly ball, senior Hector Quinones hit a single between the third baseman and shortstop to score Heideman from second and tie the game 2-2. Then, after a pair of scoreless innings from Lindsay, Midway head coach Luther Bramblett decided to go to senior closer Jake McCoy. McCoy allowed runners to advance to second and third in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, but got out of both innings unscathed to keep the game tied. Midway came to the plate and, once again, got started when Heideman hit a single into right-center field. He then reached second base after Wenning was walked. Matthew Olson then stepped to the plate with the winning run standing at second base. He took the first pitch for a strike, but sent the second pitch into left-center field for a double to score Heideman and give the Eagles the 3-2 victory. McCoy (1-0) picked up the win after allowing two hits in two innings of work, while striking out four. The Eagles will now take a week off from competition and then open River States Conference play on Friday, March 3, at 2 p.m.when Brescia (Ky.) rolls into Chandler Field. Then on Saturday, March 4, the two teams will conclude their series with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Women’s Basketball Coming off its victory over West Virginia Tech in the 2016-17 River States Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals, the Midway University women’s basketball team took on Indiana University East in the semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 25. In their meeting in the regular season on Jan. 26, the Eagles picked up a 64-63 victory over the visitors after senior Jasmine Johnson hit a game-winning three with 12.6 seconds remaining in regulation. This time around there were no late game heroics, as the Red Wolves outscored the Eagles 21-18 in the third period and 24-16 in the fourth period to earn an 85-74 victory. It was a back-and-forth battle in the early going as the first half highlighted by 10 lead changes and six ties. The Eagles trailed by five points late in the half, but they got a bucket and a three-pointer from junior Courtney Pfister to tie the game 40-40 at intermission. The Eagles came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders, scoring six straight points to take a 46-40 lead. The nationally ranked Red Wolves then responded with a 10-0 run to regain the lead at 50-46 less than four minutes into the third period. Midway battled back and tied the game 50-50, but IU East took a 61-58 lead into the final period. Midway head coach John Kenger’s team got down by six early in the fourth, but responded with two-pointer and free throw by junior Rachel Carter and a two- pointer by freshman Timitryi Patterson to cut the lead down to one point. Unfortunately for the Eagles, every time they cut the lead down to one in the fourth quarter, the Red Wolves had an answer. The final time Midway cut it to one point was with 6:18 remaining, but the home team extended its lead back to 10 points and eventually won 85-74. The Eagles had four players finish in double figures, led by Johnson, who poured in 16 points in 23 minutes of action. Patterson added 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Carter chipped in with 16 points and seven boards and Pfister scored 11 points. The Eagles held the upper hand shooting 48.3 percent from the floor (29-60), while IU East shot 47.7 percent overall (31-65). The difference was at the 3-point line where the Red Wolves went 10-of-31 (32.3 percent), while Midway hit five in 12 attempts for 41.7 percent. After finishing the 2015-16 season winless at 0-30, Kenger turned the program around in his second season; leading the Eagles to a 22-10 record. (Information courtesy of Dylan Brown/Midway Univ. Sports Information)

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