Joyce winds up and fires toward the plate in his first victory as a Tornado. Photo taken by Bree McMahon.
Joyce winds up and fires toward the plate in his first victory as a Tornado. Photo taken by Bree McMahon.

Joyce rides Tornados bats to 12-2 victory over Winston-Salem State

Robinson and Merriken drive in three runs apiece in BC victory

Box Score

Brevard, N.C. - Tarron Robinson and Zach Merriken drove in three runs apiece to support Zach Joyce as the freshman right-hander shut down the Winston-Salem State offense on Tuesday afternoon at Gil Coan Field as Brevard extended their winning streak to four games in defeating the Rams, 12-2.

Joyce (1-2) nearly went the distance against Winston-Salem State (7-9) as the freshman from Walkertown, N.C. pitched eight innings, scattering five hits on 115 pitches while striking out four batters in his first collegiate win. Robinson added two doubles from the plate for Brevard (8-7) as the Tornados improve to 7-0 at Gil Coan Field for the 2012 season.

After Joyce retired the Rams in order in the top of the first, Brevard jumped on the scoreboard early behind three defensive miscues by the Rams to put four across against WSSU starter Zach Boraski (0-1). Eric Renegar led off the inning with a base hit, coming around to score on Robinson’s double in the left centerfield gap to put Brevard on the board. A popup gave WSSU their second out of the frame, but Kramer Clark extended the inning reaching on a single and advancing to second on a throwing error by the third baseman, scoring Robinson. Champ Stuart reached on an error by the shortstop and both Clark and Stuart came around to score on Merriken’s base hit to left field, Stuart coming around from first base on the play as the left fielder bobbled the ball to give Brevard the early 4-0 lead.

The Tornados added a run in the second as Renegar hit a one-out triple down the left field line and scored on Cody Queen’s infield single, before Brevard broke the game open in the bottom of the third.

10 Brevard hitters came to the plate in the third frame, the third consecutive game the Tornados have batted around in an inning, with five runners crossing the plate as Brevard built Joyce a 10-0 lead in the contest. Robinson dealt the majority of the damage in the inning with a one-out bases loaded double off reliever Joseph Herbert, scoring Renegar and Randy O’Dell, while Merriken, Christian Christopoulos and Queen also recorded RBIs in the inning.

Winston-Salem State scratched across their first run of the contest in the top of the sixth off Joyce as Travis Moore led off the inning by coaxing a walk and moved into scoring position on German Reyes’ single through the right side of the infield. Paco Martin plated the first WSSU run with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Moore to end Joyce’s shutout bid.

Brevard added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth as Stuart reached on a throwing error by the WSSU second baseman, advancing to second as the ball rolled into the visitor’s dugout. Merriken followed with a double to centerfield, scoring Stuart and O’Dell followed with an RBI base hit to right field to end the scoring for the Tornados on the contest.

The Rams rallied in the ninth against BC reliever Jonathan Bethea, placing runners in scoring position as Aaron Jones reached on a walk and moved to third on Brandon Harrison’s double in the right centerfield gap. A groundout brought Jones across the plate, but Bethea retired the final two batters to close out the contest.

Brevard remains at home at Gil Coan Field as they welcome Limestone College for a nine-inning contest on Wednesday, February 29th. First pitch between the Tornados and the Saints is set for 2:30 p.m.

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