by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College Bulldogs honored seniors Rich Trifaro and Trent Fennell prior to the start of Saturday's regular-season finale against North Greenville University. Trifaro and Fennell donned Barton Blue one last time at Nixon Field as the Bulldogs dropped an 11-3 decision against the Crusaders.
Barton (12-36, 4-19) saw Fennell record a pair of strikeouts in his final start to break his own record for the most strikeouts in a single season. Fennell tallied his 99th strikeout, surpassing the previous mark of 98, which he set last season for the Bulldogs. Trifaro went 1-for-4 at the plate for Barton, including a single up the middle in his first at-bat.
Freshman Colby Warren finished the game 2-for-4 with one run batted in. Warren hit his team-leading 12th home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth inning while notching his team-leading 31st RBI. Junior Gatlin Pate went 2-for-4 at the plate with one run scored, while freshman Garrett Giddens recorded a 2-for-4 effort at the plate. Sophomore Chase Riker tallied one hit on the day as his double in the bottom of the sixth inning plated a pair of runs for BC.
Five different North Greenville batters recorded a pair of hits in the contest as Connor Grant paced the Crusaders offense with three RBI. John Jones went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, while Jack Morris went 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored for NGU. Utah Jones and Jared Williams also recorded a pair of hits in the contest for North Greenville.
The Crusaders would strike first against Fennell and the Bulldogs in the top of the third inning. Grant highlighted the frame with a triple down the right-field line that plated a pair of runs and upped the NGU lead to 3-0. North Greenville added four more runs to the scoreboard in the fourth inning as Morris started things with a single through the left side to make it 5-0. Grant tallied his third RBI of the game to increase the lead to 8-0 with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Warren looked to provide a spark for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth as he sent a Tucker Burgess offering through the trees beyond the wall in left field. The home run would be the only blemish of the day for Burgess before handing things over to the bullpen. Freshman Clay Walters took over on the mound for Fennell in the top of the fifth inning and would get a pop up to Giddens at second base to end the frame.
Barton rallied for a pair of runs against the NGU bullpen in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pate delivered a single off Canaan Cropper to give BC a one-out base runner. Warren followed with a double down the left field line to put a pair of runners into scoring position. Riker sent a rocket past the first baseman and down the right field line to plate Pate and Warren and trim the deficit to 8-3.
Walters kept the Crusaders off the scoreboard until the top of the eighth inning. North Greenville upped its lead to 9-3 as Josh Black dropped down a sacrifice bunt to score a runner from third. Jones then singles down the right field line to score Morris from second base. Josh Senter delivered a pinch-hit run-scoring single to left field off junior reliever Chase Long.
The Bulldogs tallied a pair of two-out singles against Kipp Rollings and the Crusaders in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sophomore Noah Almond legged-out an infield single, while Giddens sent a ball through the right side to move Almond to third. Rollings ended the contest with Trifaro at the plate as the senior hit a pop up to the shortstop for the final out.
Fennell finishes his career with 52 appearances and 43 starts for Barton to go along with 17 wins and eight complete games. Fennell tallied 252 strikeouts for Barton to go along with 100 walks in 240.1 innings pitched. He holds the program record for career strikeouts in Barton's NCAA Division II history.
Trifaro appeared in 50 games for BC over the last two seasons and recorded 16 hits this season for the Bulldogs. Trifaro scored 10 runs and was responsible for 10 RBI in his final season with the Bulldogs.