Montevallo drops series finale against Bearcats

FROM STAFF REPORTS

GREENWOOD, S.C. – The University of Montevallo baseball fell to Lander University 12-5 in the final game of a three-game Peach Belt Conference series March 24.

The victory by the Bearcats, who entered the series ranked No. 2 nationally in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s NCAA Division II baseball poll, came one day after the two teams split the first two games in the series.

Montevallo, which entered the series ranked No. 27 in the national poll, fell to 21-11 overall and 11-7 in Peach Belt Conference play after dropping the series.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t play with more passion today,” said Montevallo baseball coach Chandler Rose. “Lander is very good and just outplayed us today. We have a lot of things to work on and a lot of season left.”

Sophomore Vinny Rodriguez led the Falcons at the plate as he finished 3-for-4 with a double and drove in two runs.

Junior Will Fulmer went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and scored three runs. Junior Jackson Slaid, who drove in one run and scored one run, finished 1-for-4 at the plate. Sophomore Zack Willoughby went 1-for-4 at the plate and drove in one run.

Senior Andrew Hill and freshman Jeremy Hyde each finished 1-for-4 at the plate. Senior Austin Dubberly drove in one run, while junior Todd Thompson scored one run.

Junior Alex Guilford suffered his first setback of the season in his first start in a Peach Belt Conference game. Guilford (5-1) allowed eight runs, including seven earned runs, on 11 hits with four strikeouts and two walks in four innings on the mound.

Freshman Jake Christensen allowed two runs, including one earned run, on two hits in two innings in relief. Fellow freshman reliever Aron McRee gave up two earned runs on two hits with one strikeout in two innings on the mound.

The Falcons took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning in the rubber match.

Fulmer led off the game by reaching on a walk before advancing on a pair of groundouts, including a sacrifice bunt by Dubberly and a groundout by Rodriguez. Fulmer came around to score on a RBI single to left field by Slaid, who advanced to third base on a Lander error before scoring on an infield RBI single by Willoughby later in the inning.

Lander tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Patrick Grady, who reached on a Montevallo error, and Connor Lewis, who doubled to right field, came around to score on a two-run double to right field by Weston Lawing.

Montevallo plated two more runs in the top of the second inning to take a 4-2 lead.

Thompson, who reached on an error, advanced to third base on a double by Fulmer before scoring on a RBI groundout by Dubberly. Fulmer came around to score on a RBI single to left field by Rodriguez.

The Bearcats scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning, which gave Lander a 6-4 advantage.

Erik Lunde led off the inning with a walk before scoring on a RBI single by Lewis. Grady, who reached on an infield single, and Lewis came around to score on a three-run homer by Jeff May in the inning.

Lander added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to push its lead to 8-4. Ian Harvey singled to left field before scoring on a RBI double to right-center field by Lunde. Lunde scored later in the inning on a RBI double to left field by Lawing.

The Bearcats pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend their lead to 10-4. Harvey led off the inning with a single to right field before scoring on a RBI single to left-center field by Grady, who scored later in the inning on an error by the Falcons.

Lander added a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to push its lead to 12-4. Grady doubled to right field with two outs before scoring on a two-run homer to right-center field by Lewis.

Montevallo added the final run in the game to trim the deficit to 12-5 in the top of the ninth inning. Fulmer singled to left field before scoring on a RBI double to right-center field by Rodriguez.

The Falcons return to action Friday, March 29 in the opening game of a three-game Peach Belt Conference series against USC Aiken at Kermit A. Johnson Field. The Pacers are ranked No. 9 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s NCAA Division II baseball poll.

First pitch is set for 6 p.m.