WILSON, NC — Host Barton College defeated Coker 14-5 in the opener, but lost 4-3 in the second game of a Sunday Conference Carolinas baseball doubleheader at Nixon Field.
Barton (19-13 overall, 8-5 league) will entertain Coker (16-16, 4-8) in the deciding nine-inning game of their series at 3:30 Monday afternoon. The weekend set was pushed back one day because of rain.
Barton banged out 18 hits in the opening game Sunday afternoon as it rolled past visiting Coker 14-5 in a Conference Carolinas baseball game.
Second baseman Will Johnson led the Barton charge at 4-for-4 with 3RBI and three runs scored, including a three-run homer in the crucial six-run fourth inning. Outfielders Wes Francis and Zach Boyette added three hits apiece for the Bulldogs. Francis homered and doubled. Barrett Martin, Ryan McCleney and Chris Rawlings each had two hits, with Rawlings and McCleney rapping doubles. Jonathan Nichols ripped a run-scoring triple in the fifth.
On the mound, senior Brandon Brinson (7-2) went the distance for Barton. In seven innings, he allowed five runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out two. Meanwhile, the Cobas sent five pitchers to the mound, with starter Michael Rogers (4-1) absorbing his first loss. He yielded four runs on five hits and walked one in 2 1/3 innings.
Coker managed nine hits, led by Kevin Schlange, Matthew Kearnes and Trey Lynch with two hits apiece. Kearnes drove in two runs and Schlange hit a solo homer in the fourth inning.
Coker grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second, but Barton tied it at 1-1 in the bottom half of the inning. The Bulldogs added three runs in the third on four hits and never looked back, adding six runs in the fourth and two apiece in the fifth and sixth innings.
Left-hander Jesse Hatchell limited Barton to three runs on seven hits in Sunday afternoon's second game of a doubleheader as visiting Coker College claimed a split with a 4-3 win.
After yielding a three-run, first-inning home run to Allen Corbett, Hatchell settled in and finished with two strikeouts and one walk over seven innings. Each team finished with seven hits.
The Cobras claimed a brief 1-0 lead in the first inning on singles by Trey Lynch, Karl Ankersen and Matthew Kearnes. After Corbett's homer, Coker plated one run in the second on doubles by Brinley Griffin and Matt Ammons.
The Cobras finished off the scoring in the third on a single by Walker, a stolen base, a walk by Taylor Evans, an RBI groundout by Kevin Schlange and a throwing error.
The remainder of the game was a pitcher's duel between Hatchell (2-3) and Nick Nigito, who had come in for starter and loser Kramer Sneed (2-2) with one out in the third inning.
Hatchell and Nigito each faced the minimum number of batters the rest of the way, with each allowing one hit. Each of those baserunners that got aboard was thrown out trying to steal.
Zach Boyette led Barton batters at 2-for-2 while Ammons went 2-for-3 for the Cobras.