WILSON, N.C. – Freshman David Gibbons ripped a two-run single through the right side of the infield in the top of the 11th and Barton College was finally able to preserve the two-run lead in an 7-5 victory that eliminated No. 4 Pfeiffer University in the 2011 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament hosted by BC and the Wilson Tobs at historic Fleming Stadium.
The Bulldogs (16-25 Overall) led 3-1 in the ninth and 5-3 in the 10th but the Falcons (21-28) were able to rally both times before Barton was finally able to secure the victory on the third try. Barton plays a third elimination game against second-seeded and No. 30 nationally ranked Limestone College on Sunday at 5 p.m., for a trip into the championship game(s) on Monday.
Junior shortstop Chris Rawlings had three of the Bulldogs 12 hits. Gibbons, senior Matt Willis and sophomore Ryan Daughtry all connected for two hits. Daughtry drove in a game-high four runs with a pair of two-run singles in the first and the 10th.
Senior starter Hunter Meekins pitched into the 10th inning and had two chances to finish off a complete-game victory but Pfeiffer prevented it with two late inning comebacks.
The Falcons forced extra innings in the ninth on an RBI-triple by freshman Jon Gray followed by a high-chopper to second by senior Eric Shoemaker. The second baseman attempted a throw home on the fielder’s choice by Gray slid across the plate before the tag was applied.
Barton regained a two-run edge with Daughtry’s second two-run single in the top of the 10th, before Saints’ freshman Kevin Price deadlocked the score for the second and final time with a two-run single just inside the right field corner foul line in his only plate appearance. Price pinch ran and scored in the ninth.
Seniors Aaron Watkins and Matt Willis sparked Barton’s final scoring drive with a pair of singles before Gibbons placed his game-winning two-run base knock just out of reach of the first baseman and into right field.
BC jumped out to a 3-0 lead as the first four batters of the game singled. Daughtry was the fourth consecutive hit, a two-run single to right as Barton led in every inning. All 12 of the Bulldogs hits were singles.
Limestone’s lone run in the first eight innings off Meekins was an unearned tally in the third. Meekins hurled 137 pitches in the 9 1/3 inning no-decision. Meekins scattered nine hits and struck out five.
Barton chased Pfeiffer senior starter John McDaniel after one inning before classmate Ethan Marsh kept the Falcons in the game with 8 1/3 innings of effective relief. After allowing a two-out single in the second, Marsh did not allow a hit for seven consecutive innings retiring 22 of the next 24 batters allowing just one walk and one hit batsman along the way.
Sophomore Christian Oliver (3-2) was credited with the win in relief of Meekins. Oliver retired the final five batters he faced including ending the contest with his only strikeout. Graduate student John Sullivan (0-3) suffered the loss allowing the final two Barton runs in an inning of relief.