by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College Bulldogs altered their three-game series against the Limestone College Saints due to impending weather on Saturday as both teams played a pair of games at Nixon Field on Friday. The Saints tallied a pair of Conference Carolinas victories by taking game one, 7-2 and game two, 6-5.
Barton (9-23, 1-10) saw juniors Troy Maslowski and Gatlin Pate extend their hitting streaks to 10 games as both tallied a hit in game one, while Maslowski recorded a pair of hits in game two for the Bulldogs. Limestone (13-15, 5-6) got a boost offensively from Matt Orth, who clubbed a pair of home runs for the Saints, including the eventual game-winning two-run blast in game two.
Junior Ricks Dearing finished the day 4-for-7 at the plate for Barton, including a 3-for-4 effort in game one. Maslowski went 3-for-7 at the plate with two runs batted in for the Bulldogs, while freshman Hunter Little tallied three hits and scored three runs for BC. Sophomore Chase Riker finished with a pair of hits and plated both of Barton's runs in game one with a single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Orth went 5-for-8 with four RBI at the plate to pace the Saints offensively while adding a pair of doubles in game one. Trace Whetsell 3-for-8 on the day with a solo home run in game one and three RBI.
Junior Dylan Ward got the nod for BC in game one and held the Saints off the scoreboard until the top of the third inning. Orth sent a ball deep over the wall down the right-field line with Zach Piazza on base to give Limestone the 2-0 advantage. The Saints increased their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning as Brandon Banks delivered a solo home run to left center against Ward.
Channing Painton and Whetsell both added run-scoring singles in the fourth as Limestone opened its lead to 5-0. The Saints tallied two more home runs in the seventh inning to up their lead to 7-0 against the Bulldogs. Ward exited the game after allowing a solo home run to Whetsell to start the frame. Freshman Austin Lee would take over for Ward and surrender a solo home run to Chase Allen. Lee surrendered just one hit over his three innings of work as he helped give Barton a chance at a late rally.
The Bulldogs would finally tally some offense against Limestone starter Robert Bamford in the bottom of the ninth inning. With Little standing on first, Pate extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double down the left field line. Following a groundout by Maslowski, Riker singled to left field to plate Little and Pate to make it 7-2.
Ward (1-4) was handed with the loss for BC after allowing six runs on 11 hits and fanning six batters. Bamford (5-1) recorded the complete-game victory for the Saints after scattering two runs on eight hits and fanning a season-high eight batters.
Barton produced early offense in game two as Pate recorded his second double of the day to score Dearing and give BC a 1-0 lead. Maslowski extended his hitting streak to an even 10 games by delivering a run-scoring single through the left side to plate Little. Freshman Colby Warren tallied his lone hit of the day by lacing a double to center field to plate Maslowski and give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
Senior Trent Fennell, who entered the game as the all-time leader in strikeouts for the Bulldogs in their NCAA Division II era was on fire through the first two innings of play. Fennell, who entered the game as the national leader in strikeouts this season among NCAA Division II players, tallied three strikeouts in the second inning as he sat the Saints down in order.
The Saints rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the third inning against Fennell as Whetsell singled through the right-side to get Limestone on the scoreboard. Painton scored to make it 3-2 as BC turned a double-play for a pair of outs. Barton worked into and out of trouble in the top of the fourth as Fennell got a strikeout and groundout to strand the bases loaded.
Limestone would take the lead in the top of the fifth inning as Orth scored on a passed ball to make it 5-4. The Bulldogs had a chance to take back the momentum in the bottom of the frame but would strand the bases loaded against Anders DeShields.
Redshirt sophomore Lane Olive would knot the score for BC in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pinch-hit double to right center as Warren scored from second to make it 4-4. Fennell would come back out for the top of the seventh inning for BC and allow a one-out single to Zach Piazza. Orth followed by delivering his second home run of the day to give Limestone a 6-4 advantage.
Barton looked to rally in the bottom of the frame but would only get one run back as Maslowski singled to left center to score Little, who started things off with a double to left center. The Saints would turn a game-ending double-play to preserve the 6-5 victory and sweep the twin bill from the Bulldogs.
Fennell (4-3) fanned seven batters in the contest and upped his season total to 73 as he allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits over 6.1 innings of work.
Barton will host a Youth Day at the ballpark along with raising funds for Pediatric Cancer with a Vs. Cancer benefit game. First pitch on Saturday against the Saints is slated for 12 p.m.