by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – Despite recording its third straight double-digit hitting performance and tallying six runs in the sixth inning, the Barton College Bulldogs dropped a 15-8 decision against Kutztown University on Wednesday in a non-conference matchup at Nixon Field.
Barton (9-17) erased a 6-2 deficit by scoring six runs and taking an 8-6 advantage in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Bulldogs wouldn't be able to hold their edge as the Golden Bears rallied to retake the lead in the top of the seventh inning. BC stranded 16 runners on base in the contest and left the bases loaded in both the third and fourth inning. Kutztown (5-4) increased its lead to 6-1 after plating a trio of runs in the top of the fifth inning and tallied double-digit runs for the second straight game.
Junior Gatlin Pate recorded a career-high four hits at the dish for Barton to go along with two runs scored and one run batted in. Freshman Garrett Giddens notched his first collegiate hits by going 3-for-4 at the plate for the Bulldogs. Giddens also scored a run and tallied two RBI. Junior Troy Maslowski recorded his 10th double of the season and added two RBI, while freshman Tate Proctor had a pair of RBI off sacrifice flies for the Bulldogs.
Nick Lafferty was one of two Golden Bears to record a four-hit game as he finished the contest 4-for-6 while recording a season-high five RBI for Kutztown. Mitch Pinder also notched a 4-for-6 effort at the plate while scoring a pair of runs and recording two RBI. Collin Bishop and Ryan Cox each tallied three-hit games for the Golden Bears, while Cox was responsible for two RBI and four runs scored.
The Golden Bears would plate the games first run as Cox started the top of the second inning with a walk followed by a stolen base and a throwing error by the Bulldogs. Lafferty delivered his first RBI of the contest with a double down the left field line against Barton freshman starter Mason Cooper. The left-hander responded by fanning each of the next three batters to get BC out of the inning.
Barton put a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the frame as Pate and freshman Colby Warren recorded a single each against Kutztown starter Josh Houser. Houser would keep the 1-0 lead intact for the Golden Bulldogs by getting a pop-up and ground out to end the frame. Cooper seemed to on a roll for the Bulldogs as he fanned two more batters in the top of the third inning to keep the deficit at one.
Houser kept the Bulldogs at bay in the bottom of the inning after BC put runners on the corners and later three runners on following a hit batter. The Golden Bears would get a ground ball to third base and a force-out to end the frame. Kutztown increased its lead to three runs in the top of the fourth inning as Pinder singled through the left side to make it 2-0. Following a pitching change by the Bulldogs, Ryan Weller delivered a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 3-0. Junior reliever Ryan Pifer got a swinging strike three to end the inning and strand a runner at third.
Barton tallied its first run of the contest in the bottom of the inning as Riker reached base on an error by the shortstop. The miscue allowed Proctor to score from second on the play. Following a walk to freshman Hunter Little that would load the bases, Maslowski hit a fly ball on the first pitch that he would see to end the frame. Kutztown extended its lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning as Lafferty highlighted the frame with a two-RBI single to right field against Pifer.
The Bulldogs welcomed Golden Bears reliever Jeff Charles to the game by loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. Proctor recorded his first RBI of the contest with a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Pate and cut the deficit to 6-2. Charles worked in and out of trouble for Kutztown by picking-off a runner at second and getting a groundball back to the mound to end the frame.
Junior reliever Clint Marsh set the tone for BC in the top of the seventh inning by striking out the side. The offense would breakthrough against Charles and the Golden Bears to the tune of six runs in the frame. Maslowski trimmed the gap to 6-4 with his double to right field that plated Giddens and Riker. Pate followed next with a single through the left side to pull BC within a single run. Following a pitching change, Proctor knotted the score 6-6 with his second sacrifice fly of the contest. With the bases loaded and two outs, Giddens delivered his biggest hit of the contest for Barton as his single through the left side gave the Bulldogs an 8-6 advantage.
The seventh inning wouldn't go as smoothly for Marsh and the Bulldogs as Kutztown would knot the score 8-8 on a bunt single by Pinder. With a runner on third, Weller reached base on a throwing error by BC that allowed the go-ahead run to score in the process. Another bunt single, this time by Tanner Miller would score the fourth run of the inning and give the Golden Bears a 10-8 lead.
Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish and Mike Kammerer combined to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard over the final three innings of the contest and thwart any comeback hopes by BC. Kutztown finished the game by tallying five runs in the top of the ninth inning to put its perfecting touches on a 15-8 victory.
Freshman Austin Lee (0-1) was handed with the loss for BC after allowing a pair of runs to score in the seventh inning, while Cooper took a no-decision after allowing three runs and fanning seven batters through 3.1 innings of work. Fogarty-Harnish (2-0) recorded his second win of the season after allowing just one run on two hits through two innings of work. Kammerer tallied his first save after entering the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Bulldogs hit the road for a weekend Conference Carolinas matchup against Erskine College in Due West, S.C. Barton and Erskine will play a pair of games on Friday beginning at 12 p.m. and conclude the three-game series on Saturday.