March 21, 2014
HARROGATE, Tenn. — The good times continued to roll for the Railsplitters’ offense on Friday at Lamar Hennon Field. Eight of Lincoln Memorial’s nine batters recorded a hit, while seven drove in a run in a 14-6 thrashing of the Brevard Tornados in South Atlantic Conference baseball action. The Railsplitters improve to 17-10-1 overall and 11-4 in SAC play with the win, while Brevard falls to 12-16 and 6-12 in the league.
The Railsplitters entered Friday night’s contest having collected 10 or more hits in nine of the last 15 games, and Lincoln Memorial made it 10 of the last 16 by amassing 15 knocks in the opener versus the Tornados.
Jonathan Lowe led the way with a three singles and two runs scored, while Josh Coker drove in four runs and scored twice on a double and a single. Kyle Floyd went 2-for-3 with two RBI, a run and two walks, and Brandon Morris contributed two hits with a run and an RBI. At the leadoff spot, Scott Miller collected two hits, an RBI and three runs.
The Railsplitters jumped on the Tornados early, combining for nine runs in the second, third and fourth frames to roll out to a commanding 9-0 advantage.
That flourish was characterized by a five-run second inning that saw the Railsplitters scatter four hits and take advantage of two Tornado miscues. Colin Buckner reached on a fielding error — the first of five Brevard blunders — to start the inning and Floyd drew a walk to put a pair of runners on. Following a fielder’s choice that cut Buckner down at third, Nick Morabito scalded a double down the left-field line to put the first run on the board. Morris sent home Jacob West, who reached via the fielder’s choice, with a sacrifice fly out to right field, while Miller and Lowe singled in back-to-back at-bats to plate two more. Kelvin Brito capped the flurry with a two-out RBI double to left field.
Buckner doubled to lead off the third frame, moved to third on a passed ball and eventually scored off of a Floyd single to extend the lead to 6-0. And the Railsplitters added three more to the tally in the fourth, highlighted by RBI base hits from Coker and Floyd.
The Railsplitters’ cushion looked insurmountable as junior right-hander Logan Sawyer surrendered only three hits and didn’t allow a runner to advance past second base through five frames. But the Tornados finally broke through in the top of the sixth with a five-run outburst. Matthew Proffitt hit a solo blast, while Blake Helton powered a three-run long ball wedged around a Hunter Donaldson RBI single as Brevard closed the gap to 9-5.
The Tornados trimmed the deficit even further in the seventh as singles by Tyler Tant, Chad Fisher and John Slade loaded the bases with one out, and Chip Helton dropped in a blooper to center to make it a 9-6 game with the bases still chucked. But Dominic Morabito halted the rally by striking out Kody Spencer and forcing Donaldson to line out to short.
Brevard would never get any closer than three runs as the Railsplitters posted another five-run flurry in the bottom of the seventh. Coker drilled a bases-loaded double into right center that cleared the bases, while Morris scored on a throwing error and Ivan Rodriguez plated Coker with a single.
Sawyer picked up a win in his sixth straight appearance, moving to 6-2 after twirling six innings with eight hits and five earned runs allowed. The Knoxville native fanned seven batters and walked only one over that span. Dominic Morabito and Austin Pittman combined for two and two-thirds innings on the rubber, and neither allowed a run during those relief appearances.
The Railsplitters and Tornados resume their South Atlantic Conference set on Saturday at Lamar Hennon Field with a double-header starting at 1 p.m.