By Scotty Rouse
The Piedmont Pride baseball team entered the weekend with a 1-game lead over the SBA Bones in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League standings. The Pride record stood at 13-4, while the Bones were nipping at their heels at 12-5. When the dust settled Saturday night, that lead had increased to 3 games. The Pride split a doubleheader at the Bones home park Friday night, winning game one 8-0 and losing a hard-fought nightcap by a score of 8-6. On Saturday evening, at the friendly confines of the Winthrop Ballpark, the Pride swept the Bones 11-4 and 6-3.
Pride Head Coach Joe Hudak was understandably pleased with his troops. “It was a very good weekend for us against a very good opponent”, the veteran skipper said. “I thought the keys to the weekend were good pitching and timely hitting. Jason Goe really set the tone on the mound in game one”. Goe (Morehead State University) was indeed masterful Friday night, throwing a complete game shutout, allowing only 5 hits, while striking out 7 and not walking a batter, while improving to 4-0 on the season. . “Jason has gotten better every time out. He’s worked really hard on his off-speed pitches, and his slider and changeup were very good tonight”. The Pride broke open a scoreless battle with 2 runs in the sixth, then tacked on 6 more in the seventh. The big blow was a bases loaded double by Sam Sustersic (University of Dayton) that drove all three runners home.Sustersic added a double, while Caleb Robinson (Western Carolina) and Bailey Montoya (University of Dayton) each chipped in with two hits.
Game two saw the Pride take a 6-4 lead into the fifth, only to lose 8-6. The tough luck loss went to Arien “Sauce” Seymour (Francis Marion). “I thought Sauce threw the ball very well both innings. They got 2 runs in the fifth and 2 in the sixth, and only hit one ball hard. Sometimes, that how the game goes, but he pitched much better than the results”. At the plate, the Pride was led by Jonathan Embry (Liberty), who went 2-2 with an RBI and 2 walks., while Derek Horton (Liberty) chipped in with a 2-run single.
Game one on Saturday night was nip and tuck until the Pride scored 3 in the fourth and 4 in the sixth to take the 11-4 victory.
Hudak felt the key to the game was the relief pitching of Zach English(LaGrange College), who held the Bones to a single run and 4 hits over the final 3 1/3 innings, to improve his record to 3-1. “I thought Zach threw very well, especially the final two innings”, he stated. “That gave us the opportunity to expand the lead”. The offensive star was Chandler Redmond (Gardner-Webb University) who had a single, a 3-run homerun, 4 RBI’s, and scored 3 runs. “ Chandler had a huge game”, Hudak added. “His 3-run bomb in the fourth gave us a great 7-3 lead”. Caleb Robinson added a 2-run dinger in the sixth.
The final game of the 4-game series once again came down to relief pitching. After the Pride scored 4 in the first inning, Pride starter AndrewCorbitt threw three scoreless innings, before surrendering three runs in the fourth on a couple of walks and a triple. Hudak was encouraged with Corbitt’s outing. “This was only Andrew’s second start, and we were trying to stretch him out a little. He threw extremely well the first three innings, and just tired a little in the fourth”. The Pride had no need to worry as Willis Dobison (Limestone College) continued his excellent relief work. “Dobby” threw 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits while striking out 4. Dobison improved to 2-0 on the year, while lowering his ERA to a miniscule 0.57. Justin Sparks (Western Carolina) led the way offensively with 2 singles and an RBI. Zack Shank (Eastern New Mexico University) added a single and 2 RBI, while Jonathan Embry chipped in with a solo home run.
The Pride sits atop the SCBL standings with a 16-5 mark. They return to action on Monday, June 27 against the Lake Norman Copperheads at 7:00 at the Winthrop Ballpark.