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Braves take three in season-opener

By Brian Beck
Assistant Sports Editor

The Braves defeated the visiting Mars Hill Lions 9-8 and 7-4 Saturday and 12-2 Sunday in weekend baseball action at Sammy Cox field on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4.

Game one            

Jorge Gonzalez was the first to cross the plate for the Braves, scoring after stealing second, advancing to third and scoring on a fielding error by the Lions.    

However, The Lions answered back with four runs of their own off five hits and no Braves error.

UNCP scored two more times in the bottom of the fifth off the bats of Kevin Dietrich and Jorge Gonzalez.             

The Lions then scored three runs of their own in the top of the sixth inning off two hits and one Braves error, taking the score to 7-3 in favor of the Lions.

Comeback

The Braves would battle back and tie the game 7-7 in the top of the seventh behind Josh Bentley’s grand slam that drove Gonzalez, Dietrich and Jason Morales across the plate.             

Chris Beck then crossed the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning on a throwing error by the Lions after having advanced to second on a Bradley Strickland sac bunt and stealing third base.

Extra innings  

The Lions would tie the game in the ninth inning, sending the game to extra innings.  The Braves would finish this one off with an RBI single up the middle from Derek Funk.

Game one pitching            

The winning pitcher for the Braves was Jacob Allen who struck out two and gave up only two hits and one unearned run in two innings of work. 

The losing pitcher for the Lions was Cody Branton.  He gave up 4 hits, 2 runs (one earned) and walked one in 2.2 innings of work.

Game two                  

In the second game, the Braves took the early lead again when Beck crossed the plate after a Funk single to right field. The Lions would come back and tie it up 1-1 in the top of the third when Mark Wassum singled home Clarke Rollins.

The Braves, however, would take the lead after a six-run, four-hit fourth inning.  Beck, Stuart Champion, Ty Morris, Dietrich, Morales and Bentley would all cross the plate in the inning.             

The Lions would answer back in the top of the fifth with three runs of their own on a hit and a Braves error, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Braves won 7-4.

Game two pitching    

Justin Yow would earn the win for the Braves, striking out five and giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks in four innings.            

Dave Cockroft earned  the first save of the season for the Braves, striking out one and giving up two hits and no runs in two innings of relief. 

Robert Gurley was the losing pitcher for the Lions, giving up six runs (three unearned) on five hits and four walks while striking out two in 3.1 innings of work.

Game three                 

The final game of the series took place on Sunday afternoon. 

The Braves would come out of the gate swinging in this one, scoring 10 runs and 10 hits in the first two innings.             

They would score one more each in the sixth and eighth innings.  The Lions only managed two runs in the series-concluding game – one in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Game three pitching

Jordan Carter would get the win for the Braves on the day, striking out seven and allowing only one unearned run on four hits and four walks in six innings of work. 

Adam Atkinson took the loss for the Lions, giving up 10 runs (eight earned) on 10 hits and one walk.

Next game            

The Braves will host St. Augustine’s on Wesnesday Feb. 7 in a double-header.  The first pitch will be at 2:30 p.m.

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Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2007
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