Dark Clobbers First College Home Run, Guilford College Baseball Drops Twinbill to Allegheny

Dark Clobbers First College Home Run, Guilford College Baseball Drops Twinbill to Allegheny
Miscues plague Quakers in final tune-up before ODAC play
from Bryce Johnson, Director of Athletic Communications at Guilford College

GREENSBORO, N.C. – It was a beautiful afternoon for a ballgame at McBane Field, but the picture-perfect conditions did not lead to a picture-perfect result for the Guilford College baseball team who was swept by Allegheny College, 6-4 and 14-3 on Thursday afternoon.

With the defeats, the Quakers fall to 5-8 on the season heading into their Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) opener tomorrow. Meanwhile the Gators advance to and above .500 at 4-3.

Stratton Barwick (Siler City, N.C.) made his first collegiate start for the Quakers in game one, pitching alright although he did not get any help. He threw the first 3.0 innings allowing six runs but only two of them earned, on six hits, one walk, and a hit batter against four strikeouts, he got tagged with the loss to fall to 0-1. Mark Schweickert got the ball in the early contest for the Gators, throwing 5.0-plus innings, he allowed a whole bunch of traffic on the bases with five hits, three walks, and three hit batsmen, but only surrendered four runs, all earned, while fanning four and improving to 1-1. Preston Pierce faced three men in the ninth, walking two, but did end up recording the final out for his third save.

Leading off for the first time in college, Skyler Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) reached three times in his four plate appearances on a hit and two walks, stealing a bag and scoring twice. Ethan George (Burlington, N.C.) also had two hits and a steal while four different Quakers drove in runs. Ryan Dougherty had two hits, including a double, stole a bag and scored twice for the guests.

Adam Anderson (Gastonia, N.C.) threw the first 2.1 innings for Guilford, allowing four runs, two earned, on two hits, two walks, and two HBP while striking out two, taking the loss to fall to 0-1 in the second contest. Dawson Thomas was really good for Allegheny in game two, throwing the first 5.1 innings allowing two runs, both earned, on five hits while not walking of hitting a man and striking out three to improve to 1-1.

Dark picked up another two hits, scoring two of GC’s three runs in the night cap, hitting a double and his first career home run and also stole a bag in the loss. Tyson Bryant-Dawson went 4-of-4 with two doubles, four steals, and three runs scored. Brady Nolin and J.D. Robinson each scored thrice as well with the former also driving in three.

The guests jumped on the board in the first. Ryan Dougherty led off by working back from a 1-2 hole to single up the middle. Following Stratton Barwick’s (Siler City, N.C.) first collegiate strikeout and a steal of second, Tyson Bryant-Dawson lined one into left as Dougherty beat the throw to the plate. Barwick picked off Bryant-Dawson then recorded another K to limit the damage to just one.

Guilford responded in the home half with Skylar Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) getting it started by working back from behind in the count to draw a seven-pitch free pass. A couple of productive groundouts and a walk accepted by Aaron Williams (Mocksville, N.C.) put runners on the corners and Chase Wade (Archdale, N.C.) would come through, lining one through the right side of the infield to even things at one-all through one.

After Barwick maneuvered around a couple of baserunners in the second, he was not as lucky in the third. Dougherty once again lit the spark, this time by ambushing the first pitch and bashing it into the right-center field fence for a double. A Matt Jennings walk put two on before Bryant-Dawson dropped down a sacrifice bunt attempt. Barwick scooped it up and tried to get the lead runner, and they would have had him if Wade had been able to secure the catch cleanly, instead it ricocheted off his glove and trickled away far enough for Dougherty to scamper home. Brady Nolin singled home what would end up as the only earned run of the frame for the Gators, putting runners on first and second and just like earlier in the inning, they would drop down a sacrifice bunt attempt. This time Barwick threw to first but threw it down the line allowing two runs to score and the batter, William Wolff, to advance an extra 180 feet. He crossed the plate on a SAC fly to right-center and the guests had a 6-1 edge.

Dylan King (Rock Hill, S.C.) came in to pitch for the Quakers and settled things down before the offense cut into the deficit in the fifth. With one down, Dark reached for the third time via a walk before Michael Sumner (Mooresville, N.C.) got drilled by a pitch putting two runners on. Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) and Williams plated them by hitting near identical singles between first and second to score runs. Wade would catch a barrel, rocketing one into the left-center field gap but a great running grab by Dougherty would be the second out. Ethan George (Burlington, N.C.) loaded the bases with an infield hit. Nick Boles (Madison, N.C.) would follow and also hit one on the screws, but it found the shortstop as the rally was halted, but the deficit was cut to three.

Guilford got one more back in the sixth as well. Jordan Burrough (Greensboro, N.C.) and Devin Tonkins (Greensboro, N.C.) each got hit by a pitch to turn the lineup over. Dark rolled over into fielder’s choice before Sumner smoked one into the left field corner. Nico Clark (Winston-Salem, N.C.) who had pinch run for Burrough, scored with ease while Bryant-Dawson had the ball slip out of his hand on the transfer. Dark, hesitated at third just a little bit, and as a result was thrown out at the plate and while the score was now 6-4, it still felt like a missed opportunity.

The Quakers came about as close as they could to tie things in the seventh, loading the bases against Gator relievers Tai Hopkins and Preston Pierce. Tanner Royals (High Point, N.C.) pinch hit and flared one into center that would have brought in the tying run, but Dougherty saved the game for the guests making an outstanding diving catch coming straight in to end it.

The second game got out of hand but not initially for Guilford. Tyson Bryant-Dawson walked with Matt Jennings doing the same after him. A successful double steal put runners on second and third for Brady Nolin, who brought in a run with a groundout although Adam Anderson (Gastonia, N.C.) limited the damage to just the one.

In the third, the guests added three more. Bryant-Dawson singled and stole second. A groundout advanced him and a Nolin single scored him. A hit batsman ended Anderson’s outing as Reese Baker (Ashland, Va.) entered and allowed the two inherited runners to score, making the score 4-0, but it was still withing striking distance especially after Skylar Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) doubled, stole third, and scored on a groundout by Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) in the bottom of the fourth. But things fell apart in the fifth. All nine Gators batted as they collected five runs on five hits against a pair of Quaker relievers.

The teams traded two runs apiece in the sixth, with Grayson Tudor (Reidsville, N.C.) tripling and scoring then Dark ambushing the first pitch he saw against Allegheny reliever Jacob Slater for a no-doubt home run to right for his first career longball. The Gators piled on three more in the seventh to bring the final tallies to 14-3.

Guilford will need to shake off this doubleheader quickly as they open up ODAC play tomorrow when they finally hit the road, visiting Virginia Wesleyan University for a pair of contests. Game one first pitch is set for 11:30 AM.