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Braves lose three straight to Pirates

By Jonathan Bym
Asst. Sports Editor

April 26, 2012

Photo by Mindy Hubbard
UNCP's J.J. Williams hits earlier this season. Williams finished with two RBIs in the first game of the three game series against Armstrong Atlantic on April 21 and 22.

The UNCP baseball team was unable to secure any victories in its final Peach Belt Conference series of the regular season as the Black and Gold traveled to fifth ranked Armstrong Atlantic on April 21 and 22.

Game one

Despite a 4-for-4 effort at the dish by sophomore Tyler Potter, the Black and Gold were unable to overcome a late deficit to fall in game one of the series.

The Braves scored the first runs of the game in the top half of the second inning as JJ Williams singled to score Potter and senior Brad Bridgeman grounded the ball to the short stop to score Brad Bridgeman from third.

The Pirates posted lone runs in the following two innings to knot the score at two. Left fielder Zach Taylor gave the home team the lead in the bottom half of the fourth frame as he drove a solo shot over the right center field fence.

Potter singled up the middle in the top of the sixth inning to score senior Aaron Parnell to tie the game back up at 3-3.

Armstrong Atlantic used a big inning in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead late. Catcher Clayton Miller had an RBI double to score the first run of the inning for the Pirates. Back-to-back singles in the following at bats by Cody Powell and Mike Barnhill scored the final two runs of the inning.

UNCP looked to respond from the 6-3 deficit in the following two innings as Parnell scored Mike Gagnon on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. Williams recorded his second RBI of the game in the eighth inning as Potter scored off a fielder's choice.

Chess Malone came on for Armstrong Atlantic in the ninth inning to record the save as he held the Braves without a hit in the final frame to secure a 6-5 win.

Alex Pearce pitched all eight innings for the Braves as he struck out five Pirates while yielding 11 hits and all six runs.

Game two

The Pirates were able to hold the Black and Gold to one run on five hits en route to the 6-1 game two victory. Seniors Josh Haley and Parnell recorded four of the five total hits as each went 2-for-4 at the plate in the game.

Down 1-0 in the top of the sixth, the Braves were able to tie the score as Parnell singled into the outfield to score Bridgeman from third.

Armstrong Atlantic posted four runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning to take control of the game. Miller walked with the bases loaded, which was the go-ahead run to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

In the following at bat, Richie Anderson singled past the pitcher to score two Pirates on the play. Miller scored in the next at bat off a sacrifice bunt laid down by Barnhill.

The home team tacked on another run in the fol- lowing inning to finish off the game.

Brad Isom took the loss for the Braves as he pitched five innings on the mound while fanning four batters and allowing three runs. Isom's counterpart, Chandler Hall, pitched a complete game while striking out three.

Game three

The Black and Gold were unable to secure a lead in the final game of the series as Armstrong Atlantic used the long ball to take the 5-2 win to record the series sweep.

Taylor and John Roberts homered in back-to-back innings in the fifth and sixth. Taylor recorded a two-RBI homer in the bottom of the fifth, and Roberts hit a solo shot over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth.

The Braves' runs came in the top of the second and eighth innings as Edgerton grounded to the shortstop to score Eitan Maoz from third base in the second.

With the bases full in the eighth, Maoz hit a fly ball into right field that was dropped by the Pirate's Anderson. Haley scored from third on the play to give the Braves their final run of the game.

Haley, Drew Alford, Maoz and Williams each had two hits in the tilt with Haley and Maoz recording the only extra base hits of the game for the Black and Gold as they each had one double each.

Bryan Collins picked up the loss for the Braves as he pitched 5-1/3 innings of work striking out two batters and allowing five runs.

Scott Strickland pitched 7-1/3 innings on the mound for the home team while striking out seven batters and allowing two runs. Malone came in and picked up the five-out save to close out the game for the Pirates.

With the loss, along with two wins by Lander this weekend, the Braves are mathematically eliminated from playing in the PBC tournament.

The Braves will close out the season with two home games versus two in-state opponents as Catawba will visit on April 25, and the season finale coming on April 28 as the Black and Gold welcome Wingate. Both games are at 6 p.m.

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