by Doug Page
CENTRAL, S.C. – The freshman duo of Mason Cooper and Colby Warren combined to hit four home runs on the day for the Barton College Bulldogs as BC split a doubleheader against Southern Wesleyan University at Connor Field in Conference Carolinas baseball action. The Bulldogs won the opening contest 10-5 in 11 innings before dropping game two, 13-5.
Barton (10-26, 2-12) erased an early 4-0 deficit in game one as Warren delivered a single to right field to knot the score. The Bulldogs would plate five runs in the 11th inning to secure the victory after seeing the Warriors tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Southern Wesleyan (13-22, 2-15) would get its revenge against the Bulldogs in game two as SWU plated 11 runs between the fourth and fifth inning to erase a 5-2 deficit.
Cooper finished the day 3-for-6 at the plate with a two-run home run in game one and a three-run home run in game two. Warren recorded a 5-for-8 effort at the plate with a pair of home runs to go along with four runs scored and seven runs batted in. Sophomore Chase Riker tallied three hits for BC and was responsible for two RBI in game one, while freshman Hunter Little went 3-for-6 with a pair of runs scored in the game one victory for the Bulldogs.
Jesse Getford paced the Warriors in their game two victory by going 3-for-4 at the plate with a three-run home run and six RBI. Izzy Martinez went 3-for-4 with three runs scored in game two for SWU, while Quinton Bent and Devin Patrick each tallied a pair of RBI in game one.
The Warriors would plate a pair of runs against junior Dylan Ward in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead in game one as Patrick clubbed a home run to left field. The long ball would hurt Ward and the Bulldogs once again in the bottom of the third inning as Bent sent another home run over the wall in left field to double the SWU lead to 4-0.
Barton tallied its first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning against Mike Batten as Riker singled through the left side to score junior Troy Maslowski. BC would rally in the top of the fifth inning against Batten and the Warriors by plating three runs to even the score 4-4. Following a dropped third strike, Little would score from third to trim the deficit to 4-2. Warren followed with a two-run single to right field for the Bulldogs.
Both starters would settle in and toss scoreless sixth and seventh frames before the Bulldogs chased Batten from the game in the top of the eighth inning. Warren would give BC a 5-4 advantage with a solo home run to left center. Looking to go the distance and close things out for Barton, Ward entered the bottom of the ninth with a one-run cushion. Julio Justo would quickly knot the score with a solo home run to left field. Ward exited the game for BC after allowing a double and would eventually see sophomore Landry Moore strand the potential winning run on third base.
The Bulldogs took control of the game in the top of the 11th inning as Riker gave BC a 6-5 advantage with a sacrifice fly to left field. With Maslowski and junior Gatlin Pate on base, Warren delivered a double to center that would score both runners and make it 8-5. Cooper followed by adding a pair of more runs to the cushion for the Bulldogs as he sent a ball over the wall in left field to make it 10-5. Moore closed the door on the Warriors in the bottom of the inning to secure the win for BC and even his record on the season at 3-3.
Game two would see the Warriors take another early lead as SWU plated a pair of first-inning runs against senior Trent Fennell. Barton responded by taking a 3-2 lead in the top of the second inning as Cooper delivered his second home run of the day to plate Warren and Riker. BC kept the momentum going as Warren recorded his second home run of the day to give the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Fennell would keep SWU off the scoreboard in the second and third frames before the Warriors would get things going offensively in the bottom of the fourth inning.
A run-scoring single followed by an RBI double off the bat of Martinez would trim the deficit to 5-4 in the fourth inning for the Warriors. Bent knotted the score with an RBI groundout to the shortstop before Justo delivered an RBI groundout of his own to give SWU a 6-5 advantage. The Warriors wouldn't look back as they would take a 7-5 lead heading into the fifth inning. Getford capped a six-run fifth inning for the Warriors with a three-run home run to left field as he upped the SWU lead to 13-5.
The Bulldogs would be unable to get anything going offensively the rest of the way as Vinny Adams tossed three scoreless frames for SWU, fanning four batters while yielding just one hit. Fennell (4-4) suffered the loss for BC despite fanning seven batters in the game. Junior Ryan Pifer worked 1.1 scoreless innings to close out the contest for Barton.
Barton will look for a series win against the Warriors on Saturday at Connor Field as the first pitch between the Bulldogs and Southern Wesleyan is scheduled for 12 p.m.