Win streak reaches 12 as Tornados hold off Saints, 9-8
Haithcox picks up fourth win of the season against Limestone
Brevard, N.C. - Eric Renegar scored the go-ahead run and Tarron Robinson added an RBI single in the bottom of the eight as the Tornados held off visiting Limestone on Monday afternoon to extend their season high 12 game winning streak as Brevard topped the Saints 9-8 at Gil Coan Field.
Dustin Haithcox picked up his team-leading fourth win of the season on the mound, throwing 1.2 innings of relief for Brevard (27-20), while Cameron Culp (0-1) suffered the loss for Limestone (14-30) as the Tornados avenged a 6-1 defeat to the Saints earlier this season.
Limestone plated the first run of the contest, scoring in the top of the first off BC starter Joseph Lepore. Michael Hughey led off the inning with a single through the left side, advancing to third on back-to-back groundouts. Chad Balderman brought him in with a single down the left field line, but was thrown out trying to take second to end the inning.
Brevard rallied back in the bottom of the first, sending 10 hitters to the plate in the inning against Limestone starter Matt Crisp, scoring six runs to take the early lead. Christian Christopoulos and Kramer Clark provided the majority of the damage in the frame with each hitter recording two-run singles in the frame. Cody Queen brought in the first run of the inning, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, while Bennett Hixson scored the final run with a groundout as the Tornados went ahead early.
Limestone cut into the lead in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs to halve the score. KJ McAllister opened the scoring, coming across on a passed ball, while Jake Rierson singled in Hughey to put the score 6-3 midway through the ball game.
Brevard answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning as the Tornados took advantage of a Limestone fielding miscue to add to their lead. Queen reached on a throwing error to open the frame, coming around to score on Zach Merriken’s two-out double down the left field line to put the score at 7-3.
The Saints rallied back in the top of the eighth, evening the score as Limestone batted around in the frame against BC relievers Zach Huneycutt and Haithcox. McAllister brought in the first two runs of the inning, doubling off the fence in left field to score Al Benson and Stephen Crowe with one out in the inning. Michael Hughey followed with a triple down the left field line to put Limestone within one. Rierson followed with a single through the left side of the infield, evening the game, before Haithcox retired the side to end the inning.
Renegar opened the bottom half of the inning with a single up the middle, taking second base on a Limestone bobble of the play. After an infield popup, Chad Funkhouser drew a walk, giving the Tornados runners on first and second. Renegar and Funkhouser attempted the double steal on the second pitch of the next at-bat, and the Limestone catcher’s throw to third base skipped down the left field line, scoring Renegar from third to put Brevard back on top. Robinson followed with a single down the right field line scoring Funkhouser to give the Tornados an insurance run before the end of the inning.
Given a two-run lead, Haithcox came back out on the mound to attempt to close out the game. The Saints made it interesting as McAllister drove in Josh Wood on a fielder’s choice to give Limestone a runner on first with two outs, but Haithcox retired Hughey on a 2-2 slider to end the contest and keep the Tornados winning streak alive.
Clark and Merriken led the Brevard offensive efforts in the game with two hits apiece, while Clark and Christopoulos added two RBIs in the game. Lepore went four innings in his final start of the 2012 regular season, allowing five hits and three runs, while Brennan Daniels pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
Benson and Hughey led the Saints with three hits apiece, while McAllister added three RBIs. Hughey also scored three runs in the game to pace the Limestone offense. Jeremy Reed pitched 5.2 innings of one-hit relief for Limestone in the game, allowing an unearned run in earning no decision.
Brevard returns to the road for their regular season finale tomorrow afternoon as the Tornados travel to Tigerville, S.C. to take on North Greenville University. First pitch at Ashmore Field is set for 2 p.m. between the Tornados and the Crusaders.