Joyce, Slade lead Tornados to doubleheader split with LMU

BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College baseball team split a doubleheader with visiting Lincoln Memorial on Saturday afternoon, kicking off a three-game series with a 12-2 loss in the first game before rebounding for a 3-2 victory in the second.

Zac Joyce earned a complete-game win in the afternoon’s second game, allowing two runs in seven innings. He totaled six strikeouts in the victory and gave up just three hits, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Joyce gave up his first hit on a bunt single that followed a leadoff walk in the sixth. An RBI single brought home the first run of the inning with a groundout to the right side of the infield to make the score 3-2. Joyce rebounded to escape without further damage, however, inducing a ground ball and a lineout to shortstop Pat Quinn to end the inning.

The Tornados (15-18, 9-13 SAC) got all the offense they would need in a three-run third inning. John Slade ripped a one-out single to center field and was moved to second on a Ryan Smith single. After a flyout, Joseph Mesi coaxed a walk to load the bases with two outs for Christian Dix.

After falling behind in the count 1-2 and fouling off two pitches, Dix blasted the second pitch he saw from Lincoln Memorial’s (18-13, 10-7 SAC) Grant Painter deep to center field to clear the bases and give Brevard a 3-0 lead.

The Railsplitters were unable to overcome a masterful performance by Joyce. After retiring the side on 10 pitches in the first, Joyce labored in a second inning that saw him escape without damage despite allowing a walk and hitting a batter. But Joyce settled back in to begin the third, with the lone baserunner he allowed over the next three frames erased on a stolen base attempt.

The day’s first game was tight until the final inning as a seven-run Railsplitter explosion in the ninth put the game out of reach. The Tornados needed three pitchers to get out of the inning and found themselves facing a 12-2 deficit rather than needing to score three times to force extra innings.

The teams were locked in a scoreless tie until the Railsplitters scored a pair of runs in the fifth. Logan Augustine reached on a one-out triple and came in to score on a wild pitch, while an RBI single by Danny Valdez made the score 2-0. Brevard inched closer on a bases-loaded walk by Kody Spencer in the sixth before a three-run eighth helped the Railsplitters begin to pull away.

Slade carried the Tornados offensively on the day, going 5-for-8 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI. Ryan Smith also contributed three hits.

The Tornados and Railsplitters will conclude their series with a final contest on Sunday afternoon. First pitch from Gil Coan Field is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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