Bulldog bats win 3-of-4 against Buccaneers

The UNC Asheville baseball offense scored 30 runs over four games this week, starting with a 7-5 win in 14 innings against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers. Carmine Pagano, Bulldog freshman infielder, hit a two run homer to send the few remaining fans home around 11:00 p.m. Wednesday.

The win lifted the Bulldogs total to double-digits for the season, 10-24, and lifted the spirits of a team benefitting from needed experience. Four UNCA freshmen started Wednesday’s game and the home run was only Pagano’s second extra base hit of the season. The Bulldogs tallied 15 hits, two each from six different batters.

The weekend series involving Big South Conference opponent, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, started Friday. Jordan Fulbright, UNCA sophomore left hander, pitched eight strong innings, allowing only one earned run as the hot bats continued their late inning fireworks.

Pagano again played a key offensive role, scoring the go-ahead run and driving in two RBI to add insurance in the eighth inning. Joe Tietjen, UNCA junior center fielder, stole two bases for the second straight game and scored twice. Lucas Owens, UNCA senior second baseman, collected his third multi-hit game in a row, going 3-for-5. The Bulldogs won easily, 7-1.

The two teams faced off again Saturday afternoon at CSU ballpark and the Bulldog offense lit up the scoreboard again. Both starting pitchers left the game by the fifth inning with the Bulldogs leading, 7-6. The Buccaneer batters would keep pace with the blazing Bulldogs.

UNCA scored an additional run in the fifth inning when Derek Smith, Bulldog junior shortstop, doubled to left field and drove home Erik Connolly, senior outfielder. Charleston Southern scored one run in the sixth and another in the eighth inning to knot things up, 8-8, through the end of regulation.

The visiting Bulldogs batted first in the tenth inning, and Pete Guy, senior designated hitter, drew walk number 42 of the season. Guy leads the nation in the base on balls category. Kyle Carruthers, junior right fielder, singled and Joe Tietjen followed with another single which scored Guy.

UNCA led 9-8 as the Buccaneers took their final chances to tie or win. A double play and a strikeout ended the game. Tietjen upped his batting average with a 4-for-6 performance and a game winning RBI. Carruthers finished the game 3-for-6.

The Bulldogs earned their second series win against a Big South Conference opponent and looked for a series sweep on Sunday. UNCA climbed out of last place in conference play.

The Buccaneers quickly figured out the pitching of Austin Fahr, freshman left hander, and racked up six runs on eight hits in the first two innings and led, 6-2. Charleston Southern added two runs in the fourth inning, but the Bulldogs battled back in the fifth. The UNCA side batted around and scored five runs on five hits, but still trailed, 8-7.

Asheville’s final at bat ended with two men left on base and the Buccaneers celebrating a 9-7 victory. The Bulldog bats remained hot throughout the series as all of the starters had at least one hit Sunday, except Pete Guy, who added another walk to his national leading stats.

UNCA advanced their record to 12-25 overall and 4-8 in the Big South. The Bulldogs travel to Western Carolina for their next game Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.

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