No. 11 Braves Rattle No. 9 Georgia College, Sweep Series
PEMBROKE – UNCP pounded out 15 hits and scored 10 times behind another phenomenal outing from right-hander Brian Willis to finish off a series sweep of visiting and ninth-ranked Georgia College with a 10-0 rout of the Bobcats in Sunday's weekend finale at Sammy Cox Field.
The victory gave UNCP its second weekend sweep of the season, but its first-ever series sweep over Georgia College (24-14, 9-9). The result also extended the winning streak for the Braves out to six games, while sending the Bobcats tumbling to their fourth-straight loss.
Jason Coker doubled, singled three times and scored a trio of runs to register a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate and engineer an offensive attack that saw four other players book multi-hit days as well. Josh Haley homered to highlight a 3-for-5 hitting line, J.J. Williams and Brandon Huffman both drove in multi runs on 2-for-4 tallies and leadoff hitter Aaron Parnell singled twice and scored once on a 2-for-5 plate performance.
Georgia College got a 2-for-4 outing from catcher Richard Pirkle, but saw the rest of its lineup turn in a 2-for-27 clip. Shawn Ward and Jim Moreland collected hits for the visitors as well.
Willis (5-2) was as dominant as he has ever been on the day, striking out nine, walking two and allowing just three meaningless base hits across seven innings of work in picking up his fifth-straight win since jumping into the starting rotation in mid-March. Brantley Hattrich struck out three and yielded just one hit in two innings of relief as well.
Starter Taylor Hart (1-1) pitched just 2-1/3 innings for Georgia College and saddled the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk. He also struck out five batters.
Haley's solo home run with one out in the first gave UNCP all the run support it would need, but the Braves had padded their lead out to 4-0 by the end of the third before adding a trio of insurance runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings.
Willis faced just one batter over the minimum through four innings of work, and then worked out of a jam after Pirkle singled to begin the fifth and Benton Yaun followed with a free pass to first base. The Hope Mills native would more than recover from the pressure, however, by retiring nine of the next 11 Bobcats he faced before exiting the game in the middle of the seventh with a 4-0 lead.
UNCP will close out a five-game home stand on Wednesday when the Braves welcome state rival and CIAA co-leader St. Augustine's (32-15) to Sammy Cox Field. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. Admission prices are $5 for adults and $2 for children 18 years of age and younger. UNCP students are admitted free with a valid Braves Card.