by Cory Guinn
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton baseball team honored its 10-member senior class with a pre-game ceremony on Saturday, then continued the celebration with a 19-6 victory over visiting Southern Wesleyan University at Nixon Field.
Barton (28-17, 13-11) took all three games of the series from the Warriors (12-32, 4-20) and have now swept two consecutive series in Conference Carolinas play. Saturday's win moves the team into a tie for fourth place overall in the league standings with one week remaining in the regular season.
The Bulldogs started things off early, scoring two runs in the first inning of play on a two-run home run from senior Andrew Webster and another after fellow senior Calvin Hawke tripled and later stole home.
A four-run third inning was highlighted by a three-run home run from freshman Chase Riker, his first career long ball. The scoreboard continue to light up as Barton scored seven runs in the fourth inning to build a commanding 14-0 lead over the Warriors.
Sophomore Troy Maslowski had an RBI double to drive in the first run of the fourth for BC before fellow sophomore Ricks Dearing and Gatlin Pate hit back-to-back RBI singles. Riker brought two more runs across with an RBI double to right center, while senior Blake Spangenberg capped off the scoring with an RBI single.
In the fifth inning, Hawke brought a runner home from third with a sacrifice fly before senior Landon Dunlap doubled to right center, scoring two more runs for the Bulldogs. Barton's final two runs of the game came in the sixth inning as senior Shawn Montren sent a ball over the fence and into the trees for a two-run home run that put the BC advantage at 19-0.
Southern Wesleyan was able to scratch out a single run in the eighth and five more in ninth, but Hawke, pitching for the first time in his four-year career forced a game-ending double play to seal the win.
Senior right-hander Kerry Walker (9-3) tied the single season program record for wins after allowing just two hits over six innings of work with five strikeouts.
Barton had 10 extra-base hits in the contest, including three total home runs from Montren, Riker and Webster. Riker was 3-for-5 in the game with a double, a home run and a career-high five RBI, while Webster finished a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, a home run, four runs scored, two RBI and three walks.
The Bulldogs will remain at home at host a non-conference game with UNC Pembroke on Tuesday, April 18 before ending the regular season with a three-game series against league foe North Greenville University next weekend in Tigerville, S.C.