Tyler Waddell – Sports Information Graduate Assistant
ELON, N.C. – Propelled by a seven-run seventh inning, the No. 6-seeded Pfeiffer University baseball team (24-23) picked up its second win in as many days, eliminating No. 4 seed Barton (28-23) from the Conference Carolinas tournament with a decisive 13-5 final score.
Seven players racked up multiple hits as the Falcons finished with 18 in total on the afternoon. They were led by Derek Perry, who went 3-for-6 with 4 RBI, including a timely grand slam. Tanner Mathis finished 1-for-2 with 3 RBI and three walks.
Much like it did on Friday evening, most of the team's production came in the latter stages of the game.
Pfeiffer struck first with a run in the top of the first after Perry crossed the plate following a wild pitch and then a passed ball on consecutive pitches. Barton responded with two runs off four hits in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead, but that would prove to be the only time they'd add to the scoreboard.
The Falcons, on the other hand, took a different path.
After three combined runs in the opening inning, the game featured a mini pitcher's duel as the two teams totaled just five baserunners between the second and fourth frames. But that changed drastically starting in the fifth.
Xavier Rodriguez sent Zach Scudder home with an RBI SAC fly in the top of the fifth. Cody McKenzie and Brandall Peters started off the top of the sixth with back-to-back singles before Barton pitcher Trent Fennell coughed up four straight walks, allowing PFU to take its first lead of the game at 4-2.
The Bulldogs left two stranded in the second half of the inning, and it proved costly. Highlighted by Perry's no-out grand slam, the Falcons put 12 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh, scoring seven runs off five hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch. Mathis added a two-RBI double, and just like that, it was an 11-2 ball game. For good measure, Pfeiffer would tack on two more in the final two innings.
Barton cut into the lead with a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, courtesy of Gatlin Pate, but the difference was far too significant to make the Falcons sweat as they went on to carry out the 13-5 win.
Pfeiffer's No. 1-4 hitters combined to finish 9-for-15 (.600) with 8 RBI and eight walks in the contest. Jordan Toney improved to X-X on the season after pitching 8.0 innings and allowing five earned runs – three of which came in his final inning on the mound.
Last night, Pfeiffer scored eight runs in the sixth inning en route to a major upset, handing No. 1 nationally ranked Mount Olive a 9-2 loss after the Trojans had concluded the regular season with a 25-2 record against conference opponents.
Pfeiffer will move on to play the winner of North Greenville and Belmont Abbey in day three of postseason action tomorrow at a time to be determined. The Falcons are hoping to add to their five-game winning streak in attempt for their third straight Conference Carolinas tournament championship appearance.