GAFFNEY, S.C. – After dropping the series opener yesterday, the Pfeiffer University (11-8, 4-2) 6-11, 1-5) baseball team found its offensive stroke sweeping both games of a doubleheader at Limestone College (6-11, 1-5) who was picked in the preseason poll to win the league, on Sunday in Conference Carolinas action at Bob Prevatte Field. The Falcons scored a 7-6, 10-inning win in game one before Eric Shuford (Shelby, NC) delivered a complete-game one-hitter in a 6-1 win in the nightcap.
Trailing 5-2 through five and a half innings, the Saints stormed back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth on the heels of a two-run double by sophomore DH Marcus Breeden (Norfolk, Va.) and a two-out RBI knock by sophomore shortstop Michael Hughey (Gaffney, S.C.). However, the Falcons utilized a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh to pull even at 6-all following a RBI single by Kevin Price (Asheville, N.C.).
With matters left unsettled through nine innings, LC reliever Kaleb Earls (Blacksburg, S.C.) retired the first two batters in the 10th but back-to-back two-out walks would come back to haunt him as Preston Lyon (Gastonia, N.C.) came through with a go-ahead RBI base hit to give the visitors a 7-6 margin. Junior rightfielder Josh Wood (Gastonia, N.C.) kept the game going with a two-out single in the bottom of the frame but it would not be enough as the Blue and Gold dropped the first game 7-6.
Jacob Yates (Blairs, Va.), who led off the first game of the series with a triple, did one better to start the second game after taking a solo shot to the opposite field, giving Pfeiffer a 1-0 lead. Limestone responded in their half of the first, however, as a two-out walk by senior catcher Josh Lyon (Indianapolis, Ind.) kept the inning alive for sophomore leftfielder Chad Balderman (Irmo, S.C.) who then put the home team in front 2-1 with a two-run job to leftfield.
Saints starter Cameron Ward (DeLand, Fla.) worked out of two-on, one-out jams in the first and second innings but the Falcons would get to him in the third as a solo homerun to dead center by Jon Gray (Granite Falls, N.C.) tied the game at 2-2. Pfeiffer would come back for three more in their half of the fifth, getting a three-run blast by Johnny Brown, Jr. (Greensboro, N.C.) to power the visitors out to a 5-2 advantage.
Dylan Norris (Boone, N.C.) picked up his first win of the season after tossing 2.1 scoreless innings. Starter Bryan Tuttle (Lenoir, N.C.) was given a no-decision after allowing six runs – four earned – on seven hits. He struck out six.
Earls took the loss, falling to 1-1 on the year after surrendering a pair of runs on two hits and four walks. He fanned five batters. Still looking for his first win of the season, Ward was awarded a no-decision after giving up five runs – all via the long ball – on seven hits.
Brown led the Falcons with the big blow, a three-run shot, while Price finished with two knocks and an RBI. Yates and Gray each homered while Lyon chipped in an RBI.
Balderman went 2-for-5 with a homerun and two RBIs while Breeden drove in two with a double. Hughey tallied two hits and an RBI while senior third baseman Zach Howard (Mocksville, N.C.) collected a pair of hits.
In the rubber match, senior centerfielder Al Benson (Cherryville, N.C.) walked to lead off the game before giving Limestone a quick 1-0 cushion on a pair of wild pitches. However, the power stroke continued to work for the Falcons as a two-run blast by Dalton Lindley (Siler City, N.C.) capped a three-run top of the second to stake the visitors to a 3-1 advantage.
Pfeiffer batted around in the fourth as RBI singles by Yates and Gray pushed the lead to a four-run margin before a bases-loaded walk by Cole McGraw (Claremont, N.C.) made it a 6-1 ballgame. As it turned out, that would be all the run support Shuford would need as he retired the final seven Saints in order to wrap up the complete game one-hitter.
Shuford moved to 1-2 on the year with the complete game, allowing just the one run on a single hit and three walks. He struck out seven.
Senior starter Matt Crisp (Gastonia, N.C.) falls to 0-3 after allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings. Senior Jeremy Peed (Roxboro, N.C.) allowed a run on four hits in three innings out of the bullpen.
Lindley proved to be a tough out for the Falcons, finishing 3-for-3 with a homerun, two RBIs, two runs scored, and a walk. Gray and Matt Wade (Chapel Hill, N.C.) each finished with a pair of hits and an RBI.
Pfeiffer will now head to Newberry on Wednesday night for a 6:00 p.m. first pitch.