Brevard, N.C. - The Brevard College baseball team recognized their nine 2012 seniors in a pregame ceremony, and then went out and capped off their South Atlantic Conference regular season by completing the sweep over Anderson and running their winning streak to 11 games as the Tornados topped the Trojans 6-3 and 5-3 on Saturday afternoon at Gil Coan Field.
Brevard recognized seniors Kameron Armacost, Casey Burnette, Kramer Clark, Zach Merriken, Randy O’Dell, Kody Miller, Jacob Koontz, Casey Smith and Tarron Robinson in a pregame ceremony, and Kevin Hamilton played the National Anthem on his guitar to cap off the most successful regular season since the Tornados became a member of the NCAA Division II and the South Atlantic Conference.
Tyler Lequire (2-1) and Kevin Hamilton (3-1) picked up the wins for Brevard (26-20, 16-11 SAC) as the Tornados locked up the three-seed in next week’s Food Lion SAC Baseball Championship. Landon Beck (1-8) and Erick Sanderson (3-6) suffered the losses for the Trojans (13-36, 6-21 SAC) as Anderson closes out their second season in South Atlantic Conference action.
Game One: Brevard 6, Anderson 3
Brevard plated runs early in support of Lequire, and the BC freshman right-hander bounced back after walking the bases loaded to pitch seven strong innings in winning his second consecutive start and clinching the three-seed for Brevard in the conference tournament.
The Tornados opened the scoring in the bottom of the first as Chad Funkhouser doubled in Champ Stuart with a drive in the right centerfield gap, and Brevard increased their lead to 3-0 in the third as Eric Renegar scored on a throwing error by the AU catcher, while Robinson came across the plate on a wild pitch.
The Tornados added three more runs in the middle innings, with Renegar continuing his strong weekend of play, driving in Robinson with a triple to the fence in left centerfield in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Merriken followed three batters later with a double down the left field line, bringing Renegar across the plate. Robinson added the final BC run in the sixth, scoring Armacost with a single through the right side of the infield to provide Lequire with a 6-0 lead heading into the final three frames.
Tony Price ended the shutout bid on the first pitch of the seventh inning, driving a home run over the fence in left centerfield to put the Trojans on the board, and Ryan Kirkland added a second AU run in the eighth, scoring on a wild pitch from BC reliever Smith.
Price capped off the scoring in the game with his second home run of the contest, third on the season with a blast over the left field fence, but Smith retired the side to end the game in favor of the home squad.
Robinson went 3-for-4 with an RBI and pair of runs scored to pace the BC offensive efforts in the ball game, while Price led the Trojans side with his two solo home runs.
On the mound, Lequire picked up the win, going seven innings and striking out seven Trojans, while scattering five hits. Beck was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) over four innings, recording five strikeouts.
Game Two: Brevard 5, Anderson 3
Brevard built a 5-0 lead midway through the contest and the Tornados were able to hold off a furious seventh inning rally by the Trojans with Burnette picking up his first career save as the Tornados completed the weekend sweep over Anderson with the 5-3 victory.
Hamilton retired the side in order in the top of the first and Brevard quickly took advantage, loading the bases before O’Dell drove a single through the right side of the infield, plating Funkhouser and Armacost to put Brevard up 2-0 early.
The Tornados added a third run in the bottom of the second as Armacost singled up the middle, scoring Clark, and Brevard capped their scoring with runs in the fourth and the fifth as Stuart doubled in Christian Christopoulos, while O’Dell hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Robinson to give Brevard a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth inning.
Anderson, meanwhile, struggled to record a hit against Hamilton as the BC sophomore right-hander allowed three walks, but carried a no-hitter into the top of the fifth inning before Jonathan Zalud snapped the bid with a single to left field. However, Anderson was unable to break the shutout attempt until the top of the seventh.
A throwing error by the BC second baseman was followed by a walk as the Trojans put their first two base runners aboard. Zalud singled in the first run, scoring Price, and following a walk to Thomas Padro, loading the bases, Jonathan Romano hit a two-run single through the left side of the infield, cutting the lead down to 5-3.
Burnette came in relief for the Tornados and continued his streak of shutout outings in the SAC on the season, making his fifth appearance in conference play and he retired the final three batters to end the game, recording his first career save with Brevard.
O’Dell led Brevard with three RBIs in the contest, while Armacost had a pair of base hits to pace the Tornados in the final game of the series. Zalud led Anderson with two hits, while Romano drove in two for the visitors.
Hamilton went six shutout innings for the Tornados in recording the win, allowing one hit while striking out six in tying for the team lead with three wins on the season. Sanderson went the distance for the Trojans, recording his team-leading seventh complete game on the season, allowing eight hits, while striking out two in the loss.
Brevard remains at home as they welcome Limestone College to Gil Coan Field on Monday, April 16th. The Tornados will be hosting their annual "Quilt the Hill" day against the Saints, with first pitch in the nine-inning contest scheduled for 3 p.m.