Eight-Run Second Stands, Guilford College Baseball Outlasts Roanoke To Secure Spot in ODAC Tournament: Nick Boles’ Grand Slam the big blow for Quakers

Eight-Run Second Stands, Guilford College Baseball Outlasts Roanoke To Secure Spot in ODAC Tournament
Boles’ grand slam the big blow for Quakers in victory
from Bryce Johnson, Director of Athletic Communications for the Guilford College Quakers

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nick Boles (Madison, N.C.) provided the big swing, just clearing the Greensboro Monster in left for a grand slam, sending the Guilford College baseball team into the lead, and ultimately, to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament as it accounted for half of the eight runs plated in the second inning to propel the Quakers to an 8-7 victory over ODAC foe Roanoke College on Tuesday afternoon at McBane Field.

The GC victory, combined with the University of Lynchburg’s 10-4 win over Hampden-Sydney College elsewhere in conference action, secured their spot in the ODAC Tournament beginning the first weekend in May. This marks Guilford’s second-straight conference tournament berth, making it the first time they have made the ODAC tournament in consecutive seasons since 2011-12.

The Quakers, who are on fire as of late winning 10 of their last 13, having fought their way back to .500 at 19-19, including 11-9 in league action and leap-frogged Virginia Wesleyan in the standings, rising to sixth entering the season’s final weekend. Meanwhile, RC falls to 20-17, 13-7 against ODAC opponents, but hold firm in second place in the standings, although they are now out of contention for the top seed.

Jacob Phillips (Brown Summit, N.C.) got the start for GC and settled down after a rocky first inning to complete 4.0 innings allowing three runs, two of them earned, on five hits. He did not walk a man while fanning five and did not factor into the decision. Griffin Icenhower (Kernersville, N.C.), who entered mid-inning with no one out in the fifth, but would not allow a run charged to him on a walk against two strikeouts would get credit for the win, improving to 2-0. Maroons’ starter Mason Roy was the opposite of Phillips, breezing through the first, but he got knocked around in the second and ended up tagged with eight runs, five of them earned, on seven hits and a hit batsman against one strikeout and wound up on the hook for the loss to fall to 3-3. Chase Wade (Archdale, N.C.) recorded the final four outs in order to lock down his fourth save.

Boles was responsible for half the Quaker runs with his grand slam, the program’s first since Colin Smith ’23 clobbered one on March 28th of last season, also against Roanoke. He finished 2-of-4 with a single as well on the day. Ethan George (Burlington, N.C.) pitched in a pair of RBI’s on a double, scoring once himself, across a 3-for-4 performance. Jordan Burrough (Greensboro, N.C.) and Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) each contributed an RBI while Aaron Williams (Mocksville, N.C.) had two hits and scored twice. The top of the Maroons lineup was responsible for all the run production in the game with all but one run scored by way of the longball. Corey Coogan went 3-of-5 with a walk, a double, and a homer, scoring twice and driving in one out of the leadoff spot. Kyle Moshier and Jonny Wall each went deep as well, hitting a two- and three run-shot respectively, scoring twice each. Dylan Bonzon also had a hit, scoring once out of the two-hole.

For the second consecutive game, Guilford pitching surrendered a leadoff home run to the opposition, this time hit by Roanoke’s Coogan who took the second pitch of the ballgame out to straight-away right for his fourth home run of the season. The first out was recorded and a man reached on an error ahead of Moshier who took a 2-1 pitch from Phillips for a ride, sending it over the Greensboro Monster in left-center for his fifth longball, giving the guests a 3-0 advantage before a GC hitter had even picked up a bat.

Phillips would settle down from there, giving the Quakers the chance to come back, and they would in grand fashion in the second. On the first pitch of the inning, Williams ripped a frozen rope clean into center for a single, Wade followed with a knock through the left side, and George legged out a swinging bunt towards third, loading the bases in short order. Burrough got Guilford on the board with a single through the shortstop hole, and after the first out was recorded. Boles followed, ambushing the first pitch he saw from Roy, just clearing the Greensboro Monster in left for his first career grand slam, and fourth longball of the season, turning the two-run deficit into a two-run advantage with a single swing of the bat. Guilford was not done as Skyler Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) followed by reaching on an error, going first-to-third on Michael Sumner’s (Mooresville, N.C.) single back through the box. Hairston drilled one to right that found a glove, but it was deep enough to plate Dark. Batting for the second time, Williams picked up his second single of the stanza, chopping one over the third baseman Hayden Giordano’s head that while he managed to glove it, he could not complete the play at first. Wade got hit by a pitch loading the bases again, and after a pitching change, George cashed floating a double down the leftfield line, plating the seventh and eighth runs of the inning as GC had seized an 8-3 lead, and as it turned out, the hosts would need every one of those runs.

A call to the bullpen brought success for the visitors in the top of the fifth. A five-pitch walk issued by Jackson Marcellus (Chapel Hill, N.C.), then a single through the right side put two men on for Wall who drove an 0-1 pitch over the Greensboro Monster in left-center for his fifth homer, cutting into the Guilford lead. A Moshier single brought an abrupt end to Marcellus’ outing as the Quakers pivoted to Griffin Icenhower (Kernersville, N.C.). He would allow inherited runner to cross the plate on a wild pitch later in the inning, but maintained the lead now at 8-7.

That score would hold as it turned out. The Guilford offense could not get anything going against the Roanoke bullpen but it did not matter. Chase Stewart (Charlotte, N.C.) successfully navigated around a leadoff double in the sixth, with the runner ending up at third after a balk, but no harm would come of it as he faced just one over the minimum across 2.2 innings of outstanding work in relief. He would yield to Wade with two outs in the eighth and the Quakers closer took care of the rest, recording the final four outs in short order to clinch the win, 8-7.

About 30 minutes later, Lynchburg’s victory over Hampden-Sydney would go final, securing Guilford’s postseason spot.

While their spot in the conference tournament is secure, there is plenty left to play for in terms of playoff seeding with the Quakers having the potential to rise as high as the third seed, or as low as the eighth depending on their results, as well as those throughout the conference. At least a portion of it will be determined on Saturday, April 27th when Guilford finishes the regular season hosting an ODAC doubleheader against the University of Lynchburg on their Senior Day. Game one at McBane Field will begin at noon with the Senior Day festivities occurring beforehand.