Brevard, N.C. - Bennett Hixson drove in four runs to pace six Brevard players who recorded multiple hits in the series finale against Lenoir-Rhyne as the Tornados overcame an early 5-0 deficit in recording Brevard’s first SAC series sweep since the program joined the conference in 2008 as the Tornados topped the Bears 11-9.
Hixson cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the bottom of the third as the Tornados (7-7, 4-2 SAC) bounced back after allowing five Lenoir-Rhyne (3-15, 1-5 SAC) runs in the top of the second inning to take control of the contest. Brennan Daniels (1-0) pitched three innings in relief for Brevard to record the win, while Casey Smith closed out the contest, allowing one run over the final 3.2 innings for his second save of the season.
After a scoreless first inning, the Bears nearly batted around in the top of the second, sending eight batters to the plate against BC starter Tyler Lequire. Dalton Hall started the scoring, driving in Matt Rose on a base hit to straightaway centerfield and after Stephan Arcieri drew a bases-loaded walk scoring Hall, Will Whitty brought in two with a base hit to right field putting the Bears up 4-0. Lenoir-Rhyne added their final run in the frame as Rai Robinson scored Arcieri on a sacrifice fly, but the Tornados were able to escape the inning as Whitty was thrown out attempting to take second base on the play.
The first six batters in the Tornados lineup reached base in the bottom of the third inning as Brevard sent 10 hitters to the plate in retaking the lead. Eric Renegar and Tarron Robinson reached on singles, sandwiching Cody Queen getting plunked by a pitch as Brevard loaded the bases to open the frame. Zach Merriken brought the first run home with an infield single before Hixson cleared the bases with a line drive to the centerfield fence, holding up at third base to put the score at 5-4. Kramer Clark brought in Hixson with a base hit tying the contest up and chasing L-R starter Travis McQueen (0-2) from the ball game. Kameron Armacost brought in the go-ahead run with one out in the inning, scoring Clark on a sacrifice bunt down the first base line to give Brevard the lead.
Hixson and Stuart plated two more runs for the Tornados in the fourth inning scoring Queen and Robinson to put Brevard up 8-5. The Bears cut into the lead in the fifth inning as Robinson led off the inning with a double down the right field line, coming in to score on Rose’s single up the middle.
The teams traded a pair of runs as Brevard brought in two in the bottom of the fifth, while Lenoir-Rhyne went through four BC relievers in the top of the sixth in keeping the score within two. Queen continued to have the hot stick on the weekend, scoring Armacost on a base hit, while Merriken sacrificed in Queen later in the frame. Robinson and Ivan Vieitez helped Lenoir-Rhyne keep pace with RBIs in the sixth inning, scoring Mike Gasque and Stephan Arcieri to keep the game at 10-8.
Lenoir-Rhyne brought the game back to within one run in the top of the eighth as Gasque and Arcieri reached base to open the inning. Whitty sacrificed the runners into scoring position and Robinson brought Gasque home with a grounder to cut the Tornados lead down to 10-9, but Smith retired the side to end the Bears threat.
A Bears’ error in the bottom of the eighth helped plate an insurance run for the Tornados in the frame as Randy O’Dell drove a ball that bounced off the L-R third baseman, allowing Champ Stuart to score from second base to put Brevard up 11-9 going into the final frame.
Smith retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, with Robinson tracking down the final out, catching a fly ball in foul territory down the right field line as the Tornados recorded their first SAC weekend sweep in program history.
Brevard remains at home on Tuesday, February 28th, as the Tornados welcome Winston-Salem State to Gil Coan Field. First pitch between the Tornados and the Rams is set for 2 p.m.