Dark Walks It Off, Guilford College Baseball Knocks Off Eastern Connecticut State

Dark Walks It Off, Baseball Knocks Off Eastern Connecticut State
Freshman’s single wins it in support of outstanding showing from pitching staff
from Bryce Johnson, Director of Athletic Communications at Guilford College

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Skyler Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) rocketed a groundball under the glove of the diving second baseman and onto the McBane Field rightfield grass, as Nick Boles (Madison, N.C.) darted home lifting the Guilford College Baseball team to a 3-2 walk-off victory over Eastern Connecticut State University on Monday afternoon.

With the win, the Quakers snap their four-game skid to improve to 6-10 on the season. The 2022 National Champion ECSU, on the other hand, drops to 1-4.

Guilford got outstanding pitching from start to finish with Jacob Phillips (Brown Summitt, N.C.) putting together the longest, and one of his most successful starts, of his collegiate career, throwing the first 6.1 innings allowing two runs, both earned, on six hits and a walk, striking out five. Dylan Scudder was solid for the Warriors throwing 5.0 innings of two-run ball himself, giving up five hits and two walks against five K’s. Neither of them factored into the decision, instead, Chase Wade (Archdale, N.C.) was the pitcher of record, getting his first win of the season facing the minimum across the final 2.0 innings. Mike Furgalack faced four men in the ninth, allowing two walks and hitting a batter, leaving the winning run on base across 0.1 innings to fall to 0-1.

As a team, the Quakers only managed six hits, but Dark and Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) had two each and both drove in a run. Michael Sumner (Mooresville, N.C.) had a hit, stealing a bag, scoring once, and driving in a run while Devin Tonkins (Greensboro, N.C.) walked thrice, stole a base, and scored once as well. Ryan Parent was the only Warrior with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI. Zach Donahue had an RBI-triple and Ray Leonzi had a hit and scored once for the guests.

In what would settle into a pitcher’s duel, the first inning did not appear like the game would transpire that way. Joe Cofrancesco singled to center and Leonzi collected a knock on an in-between jam-job in the general direction of first, although the former got caught leaving early trying to steal third. Lucas Malave drew ball four and Parent singled back through the box to give Eastern Connecticut State a first-inning lead.

The Quakers answered back immediately in the home half. Sumner singled with one away then swiped second, and Hairston brought him in with a single into center to even things at one-all.

Both pitchers settled into their outings from there until GC broke the stalemate in the bottom of the fifth. Tonkins led off with a walk and stole second. Dark singled to the opposite field and Sumner brought in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.

All the while, Phillips was rolling, allowing just two baserunners and facing one over the minimum over his next five innings. He ran into a little trouble in the seventh, however. After getting the first out, Parent tagged him for a double and Donahue followed with a triple to even the score. That brought a swift finish to a really good outing by the junior right-hander, as he gave way to Stratton Barwick (Siler City, N.C.) and the freshman southpaw would get out of it. A strikeout of Tiernan Lynch and a groundout by Hank Penders kept things even at two.

That set the stage for the ninth inning as Furgalack entered for the Warriors and he could not find the zone, plunking Boles before Carter Bloom (McLeansville, N.C.) and Tonkins drew walks to load the bases, although the first out was mixed in. Dark stepped up against a fresh reliever, Connor Willett and smoked one on the ground and through the drawn in infield, touching the first base bag before the mob of his teammates pouring out of the dugout hoisted him in the air and marched him into shallow right field after a 3-2 win.

Guilford finishes their short, two-game set against Eastern Connecticut State University tomorrow, first pitch is set for 2:00 PM.