By Scotty Rouse
The Piedmont Pride swept a doubleheader from the Lake Norman Copperheads 9-5 and 6-1 to run their winning streak to nine games. The Pride sits atop the Southern Collegiate Baseball League standings with a 25-6 record.
The Pride came from behind to win game one, scoring two runs in the top of the seventh to send the game into extra innings. The big hit was a two-out, two-strike double by centerfielder Mike Morgan (St. Thomas Aquinas College) that drove home Jake Moebius (Western Carolina University) with the tying run. After reliever Willis Dobison (Limestone College) set the Copperheads down in the bottom of the seventh, the Pride exploded for four runs in the top of the eighth inning. Chandler Redmond (Gardner-Webb University) led off the frame with a towering home run to center field, his sixth of the year. After back-to-back doubles by Caleb Robinson (Western Carolina) and Jonathan Embry (Liberty) scored another run, Bailey Montoya (University of Dayton) blasted a two-run shot over the left field wall. Dobison was the winning pitcher, running his record to 3-0. Redmond led the Pride with a single, double, home run, and two RBI. Embry added a single, double, and RBI. Pride coach Joe Hudak was pleased with the win. “It was a very good win for us, especially the manner in which we won it”, Hudak explained. “We were down two going into the last inning against their closer, but we just didn’t quit. Mike Morgan had a really special at bat, fouling off several two-strike pitches before lacing that game-tying double.”
Game two featured the pitching of Connor Pate (Francis Marion University). He threw five innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out six to raise his record to 3-0. Jake Moebius (Western Carolina) and Arien Seymour (Francis Marion) each threw a shutout inning in relief. Redmond was again the big hitter for the Pride with a single, double, and 2 RBI. Caleb Robinson (Western Carolina) chipped in with two singles and an RBI. Hudak had high praise for Pate. “Connor has struggled with command the past two outings”, the skipper commented. “He made a couple of adjustments mechanically, and we worked hard on his slider, which was very sharp tonight. Chandler Redmond also had a great night at the plate”, added Hudak. “He’s really learned to use the whole field. It was good to see his home run to dead center, and his double in the opposite field gap”
The Pride winning streak has come against almost everyone in the league. They started the streak by sweeping a four-game series against Charlotte on July 1-2. They then swept a doubleheader from the second place SBA Bones at the Bones home field on July 6. They continued the streak by winning a single game against the Concord Weavers at home on July 8, before sweeping the Copperheads on July 9. Six of the nine wins have come on the road. Hudak feels the key has been the team’s consistent pitching. “We’ve only given up 29 runs in during the winning streak, and only 16 in the last 7 wins.