Falcons clinch series with 13-3 win over Hurricanes

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo baseball team clinched its opening series in Peach Belt Conference play following a 13-3 win over visiting Georgia Southwestern State University in the series finale Feb. 17 at Kermit A. Johnson Field.

The Falcons (5-5 overall, 2-1 in Peach Belt Conference) took advantage of 10 walks issued and three free passes after being hit by a pitch by the Hurricanes’ pitching staff in the win.

“We got good starting pitching once again and the bullpen did a nice job,” said Montevallo coach Chandler Rose. “I’m really happy with how our hitters responded today. We were much more patient and made some good adjustments at the plate. It’s a good start to conference play by winning the first series.”

Junior Will Fulmer led Montevallo as he finished 3-for-5 at the plate and scored four runs in the victory.

Sophomore Zack Willoughby, who drove in three runs and scored three runs, went 2-for-3 at the plate. Sophomore Vinny Rodriguez, who got the Falcons off to a fast start with a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, drove in four runs and scored two runs while finishing 2-for-3 at the plate.

Junior Jackson Slaid went 2-for-2 at the plate and drove in four runs in the win. Junior Todd Thompson scored three runs, while sophomore Cody White scored one run. Freshman Cody Hughes drove in one run.

Junior Edward Brandsema started on the mound and picked up the win after giving up just one earned run on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks in five innings of action.

Senior Devon Davis allowed one unearned run on one hit with  one strikeout in one inning in relief.

Freshmen Aron McRee, Cody Hughes and Jake Christensen closed out the game with one inning each. McRee gave up two hits, Hughes allowed one hit with one strikeout and Christensen gave up one earned run on two hits with one strikeout and one walk.

The Falcons took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Thompson was hit by a pitch and Fulmer singled through the right side of the infield before Rodriguez blasted a towering three-run homer over the scoreboard in right field.

Georgia Southwestern plated a run in the second inning to cut the deficit to 3-1 when Stephen Eldridge led off with a double to right field before scoring on a fielder’s choice by Les Cromer.

Montevallo pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the third inning to push its lead to 5-1. Slaid drove in Willoughby with an RBI single to right field before a bases-loaded walk to Hughes scored Rodriguez.

The Falcons went up 8-1 with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Willoughby drove in Thompson with an RBI single through the left side of the infield before Fulmer scored on a sacrifice fly RBI by Rodriguez. Willoughby scored the final run on a sacrifice fly RBI by Slaid.

The Hurricanes scored a run in the top of the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 8-2. Neal Chamble led off with a double down the left-field line before scoring on a Montevallo error.

The Falcons responded with two runs in the bottom half of the frame to push their lead to 10-2. Fulmer led off with a single to left field before stealing both second base and third base. Fulmer and Willoughby, who was hit by a pitch, came around to score on a two-run single by Slaid.

Montevallo added three runs in the seventh inning to push its lead to 13-2. Willoughby plated a pair of runs with his two-run single. Fulmer scored the final run on a passed ball.

The Hurricanes scored the final run in the game on a sacrifice fly by Eldridge in the top of the ninth inning.

Montevallo returns to action Wednesday, Feb. 20 with a non-conference game against the University of North Alabama. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.