BREMEN — In a tie game in the bottom of the sixth inning in Thursday’s season opener, the Bremen baseball team came through with clutch hitting and base running when it mattered most.
A two-RBI triple by Dillon Mullen, a sacrifice-bunt RBI by Wes Burkholder and an RBI double by Eric Knepper delivered an 8-4 victory over Fairfield.
“It’s great to get out here against a quality team like Fairfield and to come out with a win against them,” Bremen coach Bo Hundt said.
A goal going into the season was to limit opponents’ big innings. It was mission accomplished Thursday, as Fairfield only scored more than one run in one inning.
“We limited their big innings, and we also wanted to come out and have a decent inning after theirs, and we did that, too” Hundt said.
Bremen got off to a rough start in the first inning, with a single, stolen base, error, hit batter and a wild pitch leading to a 1-0 Fairfield lead.
Bremen answered in the second. Nate Leeper led off with a walk and stole second. A sacrifice bunt by Jesse Glingle followed by a throwing error brought Leeper home to tie it up at 1-1.
Bremen took a 2-1 lead in the third when Bobby Cornett scored following a single by Sean Knepper and back-to-back wild pitches.
A two-RBI single by Jerad Stump sparked a three-run fourth for Fairfield. Bremen came back with a run in the bottom half of the inning by Leeper, who came in to run for Mitch Andrews. The Lions followed with an RBI single by Sean Knepper in the fifth, scoring Eric Knepper after his triple, to tie it at 4-4.
That led to Bremen’s explosive sixth inning, a result of quality team baseball, according to Hundt.
“It really was. I had guys subbing in and out, made three or four substitutions, and that’s the way we’re going to play this season,” Hundt said. “It’s a team game, and these guys are committed to that. Everybody is behind everybody.”
After taking over for Glingle on the mound in the sixth, Leeper finished off Fairfield in the top of the seventh for the win. Glingle and Leeper combined to give up five hits.
Bremen finished with eight hits and five walks, but Hundt said a lot of work at the plate remains.
“We knew coming in we were going to swing the bats decent,” Hundt said. “There’s some things we need to work on throughout the year. I’m content with how we swung today, but not happy completely.”
• BREMEN 8,
FAIR: 100 30 0 — 4 5 1
BRE: 011 114 x — 8 8 2
Nate Leeper (W); Zach Newcomer (L)
Record: Bremen 1-0