Brevard, N.C. - Joseph Lepore pitched seven strong innings and Mathew Pruitt drove in three runs as the Tornados avenged an earlier defeat to the Trojans, coming out on top of Anderson on Wednesday afternoon, 4-3.
Lepore (2-0) wins his second game in the past two days, having picked up the win in the second game of the doubleheader against IUP on Tuesday. Lepore gave up six hits and two earned runs while striking out one on 79 pitches for his second win of the season.
Anderson’s Brett Campbell took the loss for the Trojans, giving up four runs (one earned) while striking out one in 2.2 innings of work.
The Trojans (8-16) put one on the board in the first inning as Derek Hipp led off the game with a double to straightaway centerfield. The next batter, Matt Hill, laced a single to right center, bringing Hipp across the plate to put the Trojans up 1-0, before Lepore settled down to retired the side, stranding Hill at third by retiring Blake May on a fly ball to left to end the inning.
Brevard (4-10) evened the score up in the second as Stephen Mullis led off the inning, driving the first pitch from Campbell to left center for a double. Mullis advanced to third on a wild pitch and came around to score on Pruitt’s one-out sacrifice fly to left field as the Tornados tied up the game at 1.
Lepore retired Anderson in the top of the third bringing up the top of the Brevard batting order as the first three Tornados batters reached base. Eric Renegar opened the inning with a base hit up the middle and a walk issued to Ronald Patterson moved the freshman shortstop to second. Kramer Clark’s fly ball down the right field line was dropped to load the bases with none out, but Campbell retired the next two Brevard batters, getting Kellen Moman to fly out and caught Mullis swinging for strike three. Campbell got ahead of Jackie Corn, but then came too far inside, hitting Corn in the back to bring in Renegar and Pruitt singled in Clark and Patterson to put the Tornados up 4-1 after three innings of play.
Lepore faced one batter over the minimum in the next three innings, issuing a walk to May in the fourth and a single to Thomas Padro in the fifth, but the Anderson relief pitcher B.J. Scarborough was equally effective in shutting down the Tornados offense as the teams headed into the seventh with Brevard still up, 4-1.
After getting Ryan Saxon to groundout, Lepore left a pitch over the plate for May as the sophomore put the 2-1 offering over the left field fence to cut the lead in half, but Lepore recovered to retired Jonathan Romano and Padro to end the inning.
Bryson Graydon shut down the Tornados in the seventh and Lepore came out to start the eighth, facing one batter before giving way to Brennan Daniels.
Anderson threatened in the eighth, placing runners first and third, but Saxon fouled out to Josh Case in front of the Tornados dugout to end the inning.
The Tornados placed two on in the eighth as well, but were unable to put one across, giving way to the ninth as the Trojans opened the inning with May and Romano each reaching on singles. Following a sacrifice bunt which moved both runners into scoring position, Ron Patterson made the play of the game, tracking down Padro’s line drive to centerfield, diving with his back away from the plate to make the catch, and then recovering to make the throw back to the infield. May scored on the play to cut the lead to 4-3, but Daniels recorded the final out as Luke Sawyer flied out to center to finish the game.
The Tornados are back on the field on Friday, March 12th, as Brevard continues South Atlantic Conference play by traveling to Lenoir-Rhyne University. First pitch for the three-game series between the Bears and Tornados is set for 7 p.m.