by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – A bases-loaded walk in the top of the sixth inning overshadowed a 12-hit performance by the Barton College Bulldogs as the Limestone College Saints completed a three-game sweep of BC with a 9-3 victory on Saturday at Nixon Field in Conference Carolinas action.
Barton (9-24, 1-11) took an early lead in the contest and would later rally to knot the score against the Saints. Limestone (14-15, 6-6) added insurance with five runs in the top of the seventh inning as Channing Painton highlighted the frame with a double that plated two runs.
Freshman Hunter Little and junior Ricks Dearing each tallied two hits for Barton while eight other BC batters tallied one hit. Junior Troy Maslowski extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the first inning, while junior Gatlin Pate delivered a single and scored a run to also extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
Trace Whetsell had a 3-for-5 effort at the plate for Limestone and scored one run, while Zach Piazza and Brandon Banks each finished with two hits and one run batted in for the Saints. Painton was responsible for three RBI and one hit along with one run scored.
Barton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Maslowski plated Little off a single up the middle. The Bulldogs doubled their lead against Limestone Starter Matt Orth on a single from freshman Mason Cooper. Sophomore Landry Moore worked a pair of clean frames to start the contest on the mound for BC but would see the Saints rally in the top of the third inning.
The inning would start with Painton being hit by a pitch and follow with Whetsell doubling down the left field line to advance Painton to third. Piazza got the Saints onto the scoreboard with a single to plate Painton. The hit would chase Moore from the game as freshman Alex Hart took over on the mound. With runners on second and third, Orth helped his cause on the mound with a two-run single to center to give Limestone a 3-2 lead. Hart worked out of the inning by recording three straight outs to leave Orth on base.
Little started the fifth inning with a single for the Bulldogs as BC looked to even the score. Little would swipe second base and eventually advance to third on a balk. With two outs in the frame, sophomore Chase Riker delivered a run-scoring single through the right side to knot the score 3-3.
Limestone would retake the lead in the top of the sixth inning as Painton worked a walk with the bases loaded to force home a run. Hart recorded the first two outs of the frame before junior Ryan Pifer entered the game for the Bulldogs. With the Saints leading 3-2, BC called on junior Chase Long to get the Bulldogs out of the inning.
The Saints would add some insurance runs against the Bulldogs in the top of the seventh inning as Chase Allen made it 5-3 with a single through the left side. Banks would double down the left field line to make it 6-3, while Brandon Etheridge delivered an RBI groundout to make it 7-3. Painton capped the scoring for the Saints with a double to center to give Limestone a 9-3 advantage.
Hart (0-4) took the loss for BC after working 3.2 innings and allowing one run off four hits. Orth (2-5) earned the win for the Saints after tossing five innings of three-run baseball. Orth fanned six batters and walked one while scattering eight hits. Garrett Sutton earned his first save as he held the Bulldogs scoreless over the last four innings of the game.
Barton hosts Catawba in a non-conference matchup at Nixon Field on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs then hit the road for four games including a weekend series against league member Southern Wesleyan University.