Bulldogs can’t close out No. 24 UNC Pembroke

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A two-run lead through seven innings against nationally ranked UNC Pembroke didn’t stand up Tuesday for the Barton baseball team as the Braves scored three runs in their final two at-bats to pull out a 7-6 triumph at Fleming Stadium.

Barton of Conference Carolinas led 4-0 after three innings and retook the lead at 6-4 with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. However, the No. 24 Braves of the Peach Belt Conference got one run back in the eighth before Trey Jacobs’ RBI single in the top of the ninth gave them the lead for the first time.

Gunner Deal allowed one infield hit to Barton in the bottom of the ninth before slamming the door on the Bulldogs’ hopes of an upset in getting his second save of 2018. 

Barton dropped to 11-30 while the Braves escaped with a 27-10 mark.

The Bulldogs, playing in Fleming Stadium for the first time this season, struck for three runs in the bottom of the first inning off UNCP freshman starting pitcher Dylan Radford, a North Johnston High graduate and Wilson American Legion Post 13 alumnus. Shortstop Gatlin Pate singled in center fielder Hunter Little, who led off with a walk and took second on right fielder Troy Maslowski’s sacrifice bunt. After Colby Warren singled to put two aboard, starting pitcher Mason Cooper’s double to right field brought both runners home.

The Bulldogs led 4-0 after Maslowski doubled in Rich Trifaro in the second but the Braves battled back with two runs in the fourth and one each in the sixth and seventh to tie the score at 4-all. Barton rallied for a pair of runs in the seventh when Maslowski reached first base after a dropped third strike and raced home on Pate’s double to left-center field. Pate then trotted home on Charlie Horne’s sacrifice fly.

However, the Braves continued their offensive spark with some help from Maslowski (0-3), who took over on the mound in the seventh, and catcher Noah Almond. A single by Luke Jackson, who was 3 for 4 to lead UNCP, and a walk to Seth Hartings was followed by a passed ball and a wild pitch, the latter bringing home Jackson.

In the ninth, Trevor Clemons’ one-out double off Maslowski put runners on second and third before another wild pitch allowed the tying run to score. Jacobs then singled in Clemons with the go-ahead run.

Trace Hagler, the fourth UNCP pitcher, got the win with 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief. 

The Bulldogs continue play against nationally ranked teams as they visit Conference Carolinas foe Belmont Abbey, ranked No. 2, for a weekend series, starting with a single game Friday.

Score by innings:

UNCP 000 201 112 7

Barton 300 000 200 6

WP-Gunner Deal (6-2) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. LP-Troy Maslowski (0-3) 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO.

LEADING HITTERS — UNC Pembroke: Luke Jackson 3-4, R, RBI; Trey Jacobs 2-5, 2B, R, RBI; Trevor Clemons 2-5, R, RBI; Seth Hartings 1-1, 2 RBIs; Barton: Gatlin Pate 2-5, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 R; Mason Cooper 1-3, 2B, 2 RBIs; Troy Maslowski 1-4, 2B, 4, RBI.