Braves sweep Falcons in doubleheader
By Markus Franklin
Assistant Sports Editor
The UNCP’s men’s baseball team had an impressive night Feb. 13 as they took both games from St. Augustine’s in a day-night doubleheader at Sammy Cox Field.
In the first game of the doubleheader, junior Shawn Bumgarner had a perfect game going until the fifth inning but came up short when he hit the first batter of the inning for the Falcons.
The Braves, however, were able to win 9-0 behind a strong offensive output from the entire lineup.
Keith Whitman led the Braves’ offensive attack with two solo home runs and three RBI, while going 4-4 at the plate. Kevin Dietrich and Derek Funk had strong nights at the plate as Funk went 3-4 with two RBIs and Dietrich went 3-3. Jason Morales continued his team best seven game hitting streak with a two-run homer in the third inning, which was his team leading fifth.
Bumgarner only gave up two hits and struck out six during his six innings pitched before giving way to Casey Metcalf in the seventh.
The Braves totaled 13 hits and scored in every frame of the seven inning
contest except in the second.
With the win in the first game the Braves improved to 6-2.
“I am very pleased with the way our guys hit this evening. We are playingbetter with every game this year, but I still don’t feel as though we have played to our best ability, yet, this year,” said manager Paul O’Neil.
“We have more power this year, compared to last year when we had to rely on our speed to win games,” O’Neil added.
The only two hits of the game for the Falcons were recorded by Kevin Johnson and Josh Bishop. Daniel Moore took the loss for the Falcons and gave up nine hits and gave up six runs. He struck out five in the loss.
In the second game, the Braves’ bats came alive again, but not until much later as they used a seven run fifth inning to propel themselves to an 11-1 win
against the visiting Falcons.
The Braves used three errors by the Falcons to score four runs in the third inning.
The Braves sent 12 men to the plate in the fifth inning and had eight hits while leaving two men on base.
UNCP started the inning with consecutive outs, but their bats awoke and put the game out of reach for the visiting Falcons.
The Braves were led by left fielder Jon-Jon Mirra in the second game as he
went 3-4 from the plate. Edmund Locklear had a key two run triple in the fifth inning to help pace the Braves.
Timmy King had a great night on the mound as he only gave up five hits in six innings for work, while striking out six to improve his season record to 2-0.
Jason Morales went 1-2 from the plate to extend his hitting streak to eight games on the year.
He also showed tremendous hustle in the sixth inning when he lifted a high fly ball to the second baseman.
The Falcon’s infielder misplaced the high fly ball, and Morales hustled and was able to turn a sure out into the Braves having a man on second base. Morales has shown true leadership this season and has proven why he was selected to the preseason Peach Belt Conference team.
“We played better in the second game,” said O’Neil. “This was the first game of the year that we turned a double play, but defensively we must play better.
“The reason we lost the two games (Feb. 9-10) was because our defense has been below average. You can’t win games in the Peach Belt Conference if you don’t have good defensive outings from everyone,” O’Neil continued.
The Falcons did not have a great defensive game as they were charged with six errors during the second game. They were led by Rasha Ingram and Fidel George who both went 2-3 from the plate.
George added the lone Falcons RBI. That was the only bright spot for the Falcons.
Brandon Stewart took the loss for Falcons as he only lasted 4.2 innnings, giving up 11 runs on 11 hits.