Braves Continue Undefeated Start
By Jonathan Bym, Editor
Off to a hot start to the season, the UNCP baseball team routed Pitt.-Johnstown at home in a four-game series on Feb. 7-8.
The Braves outscored the Mountain Cats 70-23 in the four games.
UNCP opened up a nine-run advantage in the first five innings of the opener, and held off a late surge from Pitt.-Johnstown to take game one, 13-7.
Drew Beaver led all hitters in the game going 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs, while Zade Denton and Victor Zecca each had two hits in the game and one homer apiece.
Zecca’s home run came in the third inning that scored two runs and put UNCP up 4-0. In the fifth, the Braves scored five runs with four coming off a Zade Denton grand slam.
Logan Cook got the start and pitched six innings of three-hit baseball. Once the Braves went into the bullpen, the Mountain Cats came back with six runs over the seventh and eighth innings.
With the lead whittled down to 9-6 after seven and a half innings, the Braves scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth to stretch the lead back to 13-6. Jordan DeLoatch came in and closed the door in the final inning.
The Braves jumped out to another big lead in the early goings and finished off a 14-5 win in seven innings in the second game on Feb. 7.
Collins Cuthrell hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first where UNCP scored five runs. The homer was Cuthrell’s fourth in the Braves first five games.
Cuthrell, Drew Cole and Nolan Pierce each plated three runs in the game.
After a five-run first inning, the Braves scored three runs in the second and two runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to secure the win.
Connor Pratt pitched five innings and allowed four runs on five hits to earn the win on the mound.
Another quick start by the Braves’ offense helped UNCP take a 21-7 win in game three.
Cuthrell went 4-for-5 and had four RBIs that came in the bottom of the seventh as he hit a grand slam.
Along with Cuthrell’s standout performance, Dalton Knight, Chad Whitehead and Beaver combined for eight hits and 10 RBIs.
The Braves pitching contained Pitt.-Johnstown to three runs over the first eight innings behind the arms of Blake Hickman, Alex Britt and Jonathan Millsaps. Britt took the win in three and a third innings of two-hit pitching.
In another run-shortened game, the Braves swept the series behind a 22-4 score.
Cuthrell closed out the series with his third home run over the final three games of the series. He also was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate. Knight finished 3-of-5 batting as well.
Wes Helsabeck earned the win in three innings of work on the mound allowing three hits and a run.
The Braves will continue their unblemished start to the season on Feb. 14-15 as they host a three-game series to open Peach Belt play against Columbus State.
Photo by Mario Alonzo. Zade Denton gets ready in the box in a game earlier this season.