Falcons lose heartbreaker to Delta State

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo baseball team held a 10-6 lead heading into the ninth inning against Delta State University, but an 11-run outburst by the Statesmen ended the Falcons’ hope for an upset victory in a non-conference game Feb. 11.

The Falcons (2-4) trailed 6-0 midway through the game, but four runs in the sixth, a run in the seventh and five more in the eighth gave the Falcons a four-run cushion. However, it was not enough against the high-powered Statesmen lineup.

Montevallo was led by senior Chris Ross, a Pelham High School graduate, who went 3-for-5 at the plate with a homerun, an RBI and two runs scored.

Senior Blaine Rosenberg, an Oak Mountain High School graduate, was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored, while freshman Zach Willoughby was 2-for-5 with a homerun and a team-high three RBIs. Willoughby hit the go-ahead three-run homerun in the eighth inning and it looked to be at the time the game-winning hit, but the Statesmen had other plans in the ninth.

Junior Vincent Andrews had the only other extra base hit as he had a double. Senior Heath Peterson was second on the team in RBIs with two.

Junior Michael Shreves got the start on the mound and pitched a brilliant first four innings as he had seven strikeouts and did not allow a run. He ran into a little trouble in the fifth as he gave up four runs which ended his day. He ended the day with five innings pitched with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Junior Nathan Flanagan and senior Drew Boyer each pitched in the 11-run ninth inning, with Boyer taking home the loss. Flanagan pitched two-thirds of the eighth inning and then was unable to get an out in the ninth while giving up five runs. Boyer pitched the rest of the ninth while surrendering six runs, three of which were earned. Boyer was credited with the loss as his record moved to 0-1 on the season.

Both starting pitchers dominated the early innings of the game. The Statesmen were the first to strike as they scored four runs in the fifth and another two runs in the sixth. The Falcons responded with four runs of their own in the sixth and another single run in the seventh.

The dramatics started in the eighth as Rosenberg led off with a double to right centerfield. Sophomore Ryan York then hit a pinch hit bunt single. The next batter was Willoughby who welcomed in new pitcher Bobby Bryan with a three-run blast to right centerfield. After a strikeout, Ross stepped to the plate and took Bryan deep again to put the Falcons up by three. After a fly-out, sophomore Will Fulmer was hit by a pitch. Andrews then sent a double to left center to score Fulmer to put the Falcons ahead by four. The inning ended on another Falcon strikeout.

The ninth inning featured five hits, six walks, one hit by pitch and a pair of Falcon errors which led to 11 Statesmen runs. The Falcons were unable to answer in the bottom half as the game ended, 17-10.

The Falcons will return to action tomorrow, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. as they close out their three game series with Delta State University.