Brevard, N.C. - Chad Funkhouser and Randy O’Dell had three hits apiece and Champ Stuart scored three times as Brevard opened the weekend series against Wingate University at Gil Coan Field on Friday afternoon with an 8-3 victory over the Bulldogs.
In a contest featuring the two teams who entered the week tied for the lead in the NCAA Division II with 428 hits apiece, Brevard (20-20, 11-11 SAC) was paced by a strong pitching performance by Tyler Lequire (1-1) as the freshman right-hander went eight innings, scattering six hits and allowed three runs (all unearned) in picking up his first collegiate win. Ben Currie (5-3) suffered the loss for the Bulldogs (26-17, 12-10 SAC), lasting 5.1 innings, striking out two batters, while allowing 10 hits in the defeat.
Thomas Spitz led off the game reaching on a throwing error and moved to third on Dodson McPherson’s single down the left field line, advancing into scoring position with one out. Brian Yeung followed with a sacrifice fly ball to deep left field, plating the first run in the contest against Lequire.
The Tornados answered in the bottom half of the frame as Stuart reached on a leadoff double down the left field line, advancing to third on Kameron Armacost’s sacrifice bunt. A bouncing single by Funkhouser up the middle scored Stuart to even the game, and Brevard rode the momentum to take their first lead in the contest in the second inning. Cody Queen drew a leadoff walk, stealing second base to move into scoring position. A sacrifice fly by O’Dell plated Queen to put Brevard up 2-1 after two innings.
Wingate evened the score in the third inning as Chris Vazquez led off the inning with a double off the fence in right centerfield. An infield single by Spitz advanced Vazquez to third, where he alertly came around to score on a BC fielding miscue to knot the game up at two apiece.
Funkhouser again put the Tornados ahead in the bottom half of the frame, following back-to-back singles and stolen bases by Stuart and Armacost with a two-run single to right centerfield, putting Brevard ahead 4-2 with one out in the frame, but Funkhouser was thrown out trying to take second on the plate, ending the Brevard threat in the inning.
The Tornados added two more in the bottom of the fifth as Robinson singled in Armacost with a base hit up the middle, while O’Dell drilled a double down the left field line, plating Robinson later in the frame to extend the BC lead to four at 6-2.
Lequire continued to pitch his way around trouble in the contest, stranding runners in both the fifth and the sixth innings before Wingate broke through pushing a run across the plate in the top of the seventh. Another BC error put James Tedder on base to lead off the frame, and he came around to score on Spitz’s double off the fence in left centerfield to cut the lead in half at 6-3. However, Lequire again escaped the jam, getting a line drive double play to double up Spitz and end the frame.
Brevard answered with a run in the bottom of the frame as O’Dell doubled to right center, scoring Queen with one out in the inning, and the Tornados added their final score in the contest in the bottom of the eighth as Robinson singled in Stuart to send the game into the final frame with Brevard holding the 8-3 edge.
Lequire and Casey Smith pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings to close out the contest for the Tornados win as Brevard earned the series opening victory over Wingate.
Brevard and Wingate continue their South Atlantic Conference series tomorrow afternoon at Gil Coan Field as the teams close out the weekend with a doubleheader, set to begin at 12 p.m.