Harrogate, Tenn. - Brevard and Lincoln Memorial combined to hit 11 home runs at Hennon Field on Saturday afternoon in an offensive onslaught that featured 57 combined runs and 75 hits in 16 innings of play, but the Tornados were able to close out both games to earn the South Atlantic Conference series sweep with 12-8 and 21-16 victories over the Railsplitters.
Dustin Haithcox (1-1) and Alex Litaker (2-0) earned the victories for the Tornados (18-20, 10-11 SAC), while Chris McCarter (3-3) and Brad Pressley (3-4) took the losses for LMU (17-24, 8-13 SAC) as the teams combined for 19 pitching changes on the day.
Chad Funkhouser drove in seven runs for Brevard on the day, while Champ Stuart and Tarron Robinson hit two home runs apiece, combining for 11 runs scored and 12 RBIs in leading the Tornados offense to the sweep over Lincoln Memorial.
Game One: Brevard 12, Lincoln Memorial 8
Brevard smashed four home runs in the first game of the doubleheader and withstood a furious Lincoln Memorial comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the series victory over the Railsplitters, 12-8.
Stuart, Kameron Armacost, Christian Christopoulos and Randy O’Dell all had three hits for the Tornados and Chad Funkhouser and Robinson had three RBIs apiece as Brevard recorded 18 hits in the first game of the doubleheader.
Brevard opened the game playing small ball as Funkhouser singled in Stuart to open the scoring in the top of the first. A groundout plated the second BC run as Armacost scored, while Cody Queen singled in Funkhouser with a single through the left side to put the Tornados up 3-0 after one inning. Stuart added the fourth run of the game, driving his third home run of the season over the left field fence to push Brevard ahead by four.
Joseph Horsley halved the Brevard lead with a home run of his own off BC starter Tyler Lequire, driving in Scott Miller with a two-run shot over the left centerfield fence to cut the BC lead down to 4-2.
The Tornados answered the LMU runs with five more of their own, plating two in the top of the fourth and three in the top of the fifth to put BC up 9-2 midway through the game. Funkhouser doubled in Stuart and Kramer Clark with a double down the left field line in the fourth, while Christopoulos added a solo home run in the fifth for Brevard.
The Railsplitters added runs in the fifth and the sixth, putting crooked frames up on the board as Nick Pressley brought Curt Fuqua in with a sacrifice fly, while John Saylor scored on Cody Baker’s fielder’s choice to cut the lead back to within five with three innings to play.
Robinson pushed the Brevard lead to 11-4 with a two-run home run in the top of the eighth, scoring Funkhouser from first, and O’Dell capped the BC scoring in the contest with a solo home run to lead off the ninth as the Tornados went into the final three outs with the 12-4 advantage.
The Railsplitters sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the ninth with Saylor, Nick Morabito, Horsley and Fuqua all driving in runs in the inning to bring the game back to within striking distance. The Railsplitters loaded the bases with two outs, sending the tying run up to the plate, but Bennett Hixson entered the game, retiring the final batter to earn his fourth save of the season.
Game Two: Brevard 21, Lincoln Memorial 16
A total of six home runs were hit in the second game as the teams combined for 37 runs and 41 hits in the series finale, but Brevard was victorious as Haithcox pitching 1.1 innings of shutout relief as the Tornados recorded the series sweep with the 21-16 victory over the Railsplitters.
Stuart and Robinson both went deep for the second time on the day for Brevard, while all nine starters in the BC lineup both scored and drove in a run as the Tornados set a school record with 21 runs scored in the contest and 33 runs scored in a day.
Brevard held the 2-1 lead after the first inning as Robinson doubled in Armacost and Funkhouser in the top of the frame, while Horsley led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run over the left field fence for the Railsplitters.
The teams combined for 11 runs in the second inning, with Funkhouser driving in the majority of the six runs for Brevard in the top of the inning with a bases-loaded three RBI double down the left field line. Fuqua provided most of the damage for the Railsplitters in the bottom half of the inning, driving in two runs with a one-out single as the score sat 8-6 in BC’s favor after two innings.
Doubles and wild pitches helped the Tornados add six more runs in the top of the third inning, stretching the lead to 14-6 as Brevard took advantage of an LMU fielding error and two wild pitches to send 11 batters to the plate in the frame. Christopoulos and O’Dell closed out the inning with back-to-back doubles, helping add on to the damage in the frame for the Tornados as Brevard led by eight after three innings.
The teams combined for five home runs and a combined 17 runs crossed the plate from the top of the fourth to the bottom of the sixth inning, with Brevard emerging from the scoring outburst with the 21-16 lead heading into the final inning.
LMU’s Bryan Ebelink threw the day’s first 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh to shut down the Brevard offense, while Haithcox followed with a 1-2-3 inning of his own, retiring two of the Railsplitters on strikes along the way to end the game with Brevard earning the series sweep.
Brevard remains on the road as the Tornados step out of conference play to take on NCAA Division I Gardner-Webb University on Wednesday, April 4th. First pitch between the Tornados and the Runnin’ Bulldogs in Boiling Springs, N.C. is set for 6 p.m.