UNCP Completes Twinbill Sweep Of Golden Eagles
PEMBROKE – UNCP used RBI singles by Kevin Dietrich and Jordan Pegram, as well as a costly balk, to plate three runs in a game-deciding third inning and finish off a doubleheader sweep of visiting Clarion with a 5-2 win over the Golden Eagles Tuesday evening at Sammy Cox Field.
Jason Coker singled three times in four trips to the plate to provide the only multi-hit outing for UNCP (15-4) who recorded its season-best sixth-straight win with the result. Dietrich drove in a pair of runs on a 1-for-2 hitting line that included a walk and a sac fly. Andy Petruska topped the hit column for Clarion (0-2), registering both a single and a double on a 2-for-3 day, while Erik Kempton keyed a 1-for-3 outing with Clarion’s first home run of the season.
Four different UNCP pitchers recorded two strikeouts apiece, with starter Bryan Collins (1-0) picking up his first collegiate victory after yielding five hits and a lone run in three innings of work amidst a pre-arranged lineup. Jonathan Rivera surrendered just one run and two hits in the fourth and fifth innings, Rudy Brown struck out a pair in a hitless sixth and preseason all-American closer Ryan Kirkman picked up his third save of the season with a flawless seventh inning.
Clarion starter John Hynes (0-1) allowed just three hits in two innings from the hill, but saddled the loss for the visitors after allowing four runs on as many walks and a costly balk.
The Golden Eagles used Petruska’s double and a two-out RBI single by Sean Zimmerman to plate a first-inning run, but costly mistakes by the visitors would allow the Braves to knot the score back up in the bottom of the second. Jordan Pegram reached via a one-out walk in the inning, advanced to second after knocking the ball out of the glove of Petruska on a failed pickoff attempt, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored shortly thereafter on an errant throw by Hynes.
Ingold doubled to lead off the third and the Braves put runners on the corners a short time later, moving the newcomer to third amidst a five-pitch walk issued to Derek Funk. A balk by Hynes in the ensuing at-bat would allow Ingold to trot home from third and Fun to move into scoring position. Coker’s bunt single moments later would precede the run-scoring singles by both Dietrich and Pegram.
Kempton teed off on Rivera’s first offering of the game in the fourth but the Golden Eagles were unable to inch any closer. Brown struck out the bookends of the top of the sixth inning, while Kirkman fanned the first two batters in the seventh to erase any hopes of a late rally by the visitors.
UNCP will step back into conference play this weekend when the Braves pack up their show and head to Augusta, Ga., for a weekend set with Augusta State (8-9, 1-2 PBC) at Lake Olmstead Stadium. The squads will open up the weekend with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, before closing out the set with a 1 p.m. single game on Sunday.