Falcons hold off Columbus State in series opener


MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo baseball team defeated visiting Columbus State University 5-4 in the opening game of a three-game Peach Belt Conference series March 15 at Kermit A. Johnson Field.

The Falcons, who entered the series ranked No. 22 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II poll, limited further damage after a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to secure the victory.

“It’s always great to win game one of the series,” said Montevallo baseball coach Chandler Rose. We have two important and tough games tomorrow. Columbus State has a very good team and Michael Shreves was phenomenal tonight against a tough lineup. Our situational hitting helped us scratch some runs and our guys competed well at the plate all night.”

Shreves, the Falcons’ senior starter, improved to 5-2 on the mound after giving up four earned runs on nine hits with six strikeouts without allowing a walk in 8 1/3 innings of action.

Freshman Cody Hughes recorded the final two outs while stranding an inherited baserunner to close out the victory.

Senior Andrew Hill led Montevallo (19-7 overall, 10-3 in Peach Belt Conference) offensively as he finished 2-for-4 at the plate and scored two runs. Fellow senior Austin Dubberly also went 2-for-4 at the plate.

Junior Todd Thompson, who drove in one run and scored one run, went 1-for-3 at the plate. Junior Will Fulmer, who drove in one run and scored one run, finished 1-for-4 at the plate.

Sophomore Chad Collum finished 1-for-3 at the plate and drove in one run. Junior Jackson Slaid went 1-for-4 at the plate and scored one run. Sophomore Vinny Rodriguez drove in one run.

Columbus State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. J.D. Pullen singled to center field before coming around to score on a two-run homer by Cameron Scott.

Montevallo cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom half of the first inning when Fulmer led off with a solo homer.

The Falcons tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning. Hill led off the inning with an infield single before advancing to second base on a throwing error by the Cougars. Hill advanced to third base on a groundout by Bradey before scoring on a RBI groundout by Martell.

Montevallo took its first lead in the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Slaid led off with a double to left-center field before advancing to third base on a bunt single by Hill. Slaid scored on a RBI single to left field by Collum. Hill, who advanced to third base on the Collum single, scored following a Columbus State error to give the Falcons a 4-2 lead.

The Falcons took a 5-2 lead with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Thompson reached on an infield single, advanced to second base on a Columbus State error and moved to third on a single to center field by Dubberly. Thompson scored on a fielder’s choice RBI by Rodriguez.

The Cougars cut the deficit to 5-4 with a two-run blast in the top of the ninth inning. Jackson Oliver singled before Jimmy Obermark trimmed the Falcons’ lead to one run with a two-run homer.

However, Hughes came in to record the final two outs in the inning as he picked up his fifth save of the season.

The Falcons return to action Saturday, March 16 in the final two games of the series against Columbus State. First pitch in the first game of the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m.