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Baseball Braves grab wins

By Nick Phillips

February 23, 2012

Photo by Mindy Hubbard
UNCP's Brad Isom delivers a pitch to the plate against Georgia Southwestern. Isom recorded his first career complete game on Feb. 18.

The eighth-ranked UNCP baseball team picked up its first two wins of the Peach Belt Conference season on Feb. 18, as they rolled past visiting Georgia Southwestern in doubleheader action.

Rain washed out the series finale on Feb. 19, but that might have been just as well for the visitors, who saw the home-standing Braves outscore them 17-1 in the opening two games.

UNCP improved to 10- 1 overall and 2-0 in the PBC on the young season with the wins, while stretching the Braves' home winning streak to 17 games, dating back to last season.

The game one victory extends the Black and Gold's streak of winning their PBC opening game to seven seasons, a streak that began in 2006.

The doubleheader sweep also gave the Braves their 19th series win in 21 total two- or three-game series, dating back to the start of the 2011 season.

Opening gem

In the first game, UNCP saw starting pitcher Brad Isom throw a beauty on the mound, as the senior improved to 3-0 on the season with his first career complete game as the Braves won 9-1.

Isom tossed 113 pitches in his performance, striking out six batters, scattering just five hits over his nine innings of work for the win.

He has now won six of his last seven appearances dating back to last season.

Offensively, the Braves matched a season-high with 17 hits, including 10 hits from their 2-3-4 hitters alone.

Senior Aaron Parnell finished a double short of the cycle after going 4-for-5 at the plate and drove in four runs, as his three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning got the scoring started for UNCP.

Fellow seniors Brad Bridgeman and Eitan Maoz each collected three hits in the win, while Bridgeman also drove home three RBIs and scored twice.

Freshman Drew Cole and redshirt-sophomore Tyler Potter each notched two hits for UNCP as well.

UNCP took the lead and never looked back after Parnell's three-run homer to left field in the bottom of the first inning.

The Black & Gold tacked on lone runs in four of the next five innings before adding a final pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run single from Bridgeman.

Continued dominance

The second game was much of the same for both teams, as UNCP continued to rack up the hits and runs, while Georgia Southwestern was unable to do anything with the Braves' pitchers as the hosts grabbed an 8-0 win.

Bridgeman belted two homers and a career-high five RBIs in a 3-for-5 hitting afternoon as UNCP tallied 10 total hits.

Freshman Jordan DeLoatch got the start on the mound for the Braves, lasting 4-1/3 innings and allowing just walks before giving way to senior reliever Brantley Hattrich.

Hattrich improved to 2- 0 on the season as he closed out the games' final 4-2/3 innings, striking out two batters while allowing two hits and a walk.

Parnell delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the first in what would be the only run the Braves would need, but the hosts added more when Bridgeman connected for his homers in the third and sixth innings before adding an RBI single in the seventh inning and an RBI groundout in the eighth inning.

Seniors Kyle Adair and Josh Haley added the only other RBI for the Black and Gold, as each delivered RBI singles in the game two victory.

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Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2012
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