HICKORY, N.C. – Sophomore third baseman Aarin Sharpe delivered a two-out, two-run single in the eighth to give Pfeiffer University the lead for good in an 8-5 season opening victory at Lenoir-Rhyne. Four runs in the first started the offense as six Falcons had multi-hit games led by Sharpe’s 3-for-4 outing with a double and four RBI.
Pfeiffer began the new season with six-straight hits to spark the four-run first. Jacob Yates started with a double to left. Freshman Matt Wade followed with a base hit to right that sent Yates over to third. Senior Preston Lyon then came up with a RBI-single to left to bring home Yates with the first run of the year. After a Jon Gray single to left, Sharpe lined a two-run double down the right field line for a 3-0 Falcon lead. Eric Shoemaker tossed in a run-scoring single up the middle to finish the frame.
Lenoir-Rhyne responded with five unanswered runs to take a 5-4 lead through three. Anthony Sully started and finished the run with a RBI-double in the first and solo home run to right-center in the third. A single, double and sacrifice-fly led to the middle three Bear runs on the afternoon.
In the crucial eighth, Hunter Boehme began with a single to right while Yates drew a free pass. After a Wade sac-bunt pushed runners over 90 feet, Lyon walked to load the bases. With two outs after a Gray strikeout, Sharpe came through with his single to center putting the Falcons back on top 6-5. Insurance in the ninth came in the form of Tyler Smith solo homer and RBI-single by Wade.
Despite new NCAA regulations on aluminum bats making them react more like wood, Pfeiffer pounded out 16 hits in the win. Ethan Marsh picked up the win in relief tossing the sixth and seventh frames allowing one hit with one strikeout. Luke Wilhelm secured his first save of the season in the ninth scattering one hits while striking out the side.
The Falcons will be back in action with three games in three days at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium in Kannapolis this weekend. Pfeiffer will start the weekend with a 2:00 p.m. matchup with 23rd-ranked Catawba on Friday afternoon.