by Doug Page
ASHEBORO, N.C. – A pair of run-scoring singles from freshman Colby Warren and fellow freshman Tate Proctor in the bottom of the fifth inning propelled the Barton College Bulldogs to a doubleheader split against Lenoir-Rhyne on Tuesday in non-conference baseball action. The Bulldogs were victorious 6-4 in game two after dropping a 9-3 decision in the opener.
The Bulldogs (4-5) received four quality innings on the mound from freshman right-hander Landry Moore, who limited the Lenoir-Rhyne offense to just two runs and two hits before giving way to the bullpen. The Bears (6-2) erased an early 2-0 deficit in game one, using a four-run bottom of the third inning to take a 5-2 lead and never look back en route to a 9-3 win.
Warren finished the day 4-for-5 at the plate for BC and cranked his first collegiate home run in the top of the sixth inning of game one. The Roanoke Rapids, N.C. native was responsible for driving in three runs and scoring two runs on the day. Sophomore Chase Riker went 4-for-7 at the dish with one run batted in and two runs scored. Junior Gatlin Pate scored three times for Barton while tallying a pair of hits in five trips to the plate. Sophomore Noah Almond went 2-for-6 with one double and one run scored for the Bulldogs, while Proctor and junior Ricks Dearing each contributed two hits apiece for BC.
Justin Dean, Will Jones, and Zack Shoemaker each plated a pair of runs for Lenoir-Rhyne as Dean and Shoemaker both recorded two-hit games to start the day for the Bears. Dean went 2-for-2 in the lead-off spot in game one, while Shoemaker went 2-for-3. The Bears tallied nine hits in game one as seven different Lenoir-Rhyne players recorded at least one hit.
Barton recorded the first runs of the day in the top of the second inning in game one against Lenoir-Rhyne starter Jake Conroy. Warren and Almond would score as redshirt freshman Danny Rodriguez dropped down a bunt with the duo on first and second. Trying to get the lead runner on the play, Conroy made a throw to third but would miss the target and allow both BC runners to score to make it 2-0.
The Bears cut the BC lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the frame against Barton freshman lefty Clay Walters. Hunter Jackson hit a fly ball to center that would allow Jones to tag and score from third base. Lenoir-Rhyne quickly tied the score as Dean connected on a lead-off solo home run in the bottom of the third inning to right-center. The Bears rallied against Walters as Marcus Shoemaker singled to center to give his team a 3-2 advantage. Jones doubled the lead to 4-2 with a sacrifice fly to right field.
One Shoemaker would then plate the other as Zack made it 5-2 in favor of the Bears, plating Marcus with a single through the right-side. The Bears upped their lead to 7-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning with freshman Jabe Montgomery on the mound for Barton. After falling behind 8-2, Warren sent a pitch from Bears reliever Brett Fulk over the wall in left-center to trim the deficit to 8-3. Z. Shoemaker tallied his second RBI of the game with a single to left in the bottom of the sixth inning against BC reliever Clint Marsh.
Walters (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season for the Bulldogs after allowing five runs on five hits through three innings of work. Walters walked two batters and fanned a pair, while his counterpart, Conroy (1-0) got the victory after allowing just two unearned runs on three hits over four innings of work. Conroy fanned five batters and walked just one, while Fulk notched his first save of the season after tossing the final three innings of the game and yielding just one run on three hits and striking out six.
In game two, Barton spotted Moore an early 3-0 lead as Riker started the scoring against Bears starter Alex Shirazi in the bottom of the first inning. His single to left field scored Junior Ricks Dearing and would be followed by Pate scoring on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Warren completed the scoring in the frame with a double to left to score Riker from second.
Lenoir-Rhyne cut the BC lead to 3-1 in the second inning as Cole Fowler ripped a double to left to plate Jones. The Bears continued to chip away at the Barton lead, scoring once in the top of the third as a groundout to short scored Dean.
Leading by one, the Bulldogs took advantage of a passed ball with runners in scoring position to increase their lead to 4-2. In the fifth inning against LR reliever Matt Ranson, Barton took its largest lead of the day as Warren singled through the left side to score Pate. Proctor followed with a single of his own through the left side to give BC a 6-2 lead.
The lead would be trimmed by the Bears in the top of the sixth inning as Jones singled off Barton reliever Ryan Pifer to make it 6-3. Pifer got things going by fanning back-to-back batters with a pair of runners on base. Looking to end the frame, the Bears had other plans as they rallied with two outs to pull within two runs of BC. Barton would make a pitching change and turn to Warren. A walk to the first batter loaded the bases for Lenoir-Rhyne and brought Grant Fuller to the plate. Warren would get Fuller to hit a hard grounder to Dearing at second for the putout at first to strand the bases loaded.
Warren worked around a lead-off double and a passed ball in the seventh inning to strand a runner on third for Lenoir-Rhyne and preserve the 6-4 win for the Bulldogs. Warren earned his first career save in the process and helped fellow freshman Landry Moore record his first collegiate win for Barton. Shirazi (0-1) was handed with the loss for the Bears after allowing four runs on seven hits through two innings of work on the mound. Shirazi fanned three batters, while Ransom struck out two batters.
Barton hosts Mercy College on Feb. 17-18 for four games at Nixon Field beginning at 12 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.