Longballs Reign, Guilford College Baseball Splits Senior Day Against (RV) Lynchburg(Quakers finish season with best record in ODAC play since 2005)

Longballs Reign, Guilford College Baseball Splits Senior Day Against (RV) Lynchburg
Quakers finish season with best record in ODAC play since 2005
fom Bryce Johnson, Director of Athletic Communications for the Guilford College Quakers

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The ball was flying out at McBane Field, with a combined six longballs hit across the Guilford College baseball team’s Senior Day doubleheader split with the 2023 National Champion University of Lynchburg, falling 12-2 in the opener before ending the regular season on a high note, defeating the Hornets 10-5 in the night cap in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action on Saturday afternoon.

With the split, the Quakers complete regular season action with a record of 20-20, 12-10 against conference competition, and in sole possession of sixth place in the ODAC. It marks their top finish in the standings since entering the league tournament as the fifth-seed in 2012. It is also their first finish above .500 in league play since 2006, and in terms of winning percentage (.545) since they went 13-6 (.684) in 2005. Lynchburg completes the regular season at 25-14, and 13-9 in conference play.

Making his final start, Marcello Ricigliano (Kernersville, N.C.) would only last 1.0 inning, allowing five runs, albeit none of them earned, on five hits and a walk, finishing the regular season with a record of 4-5. Wesley Arrington threw 6.1 innings for the guests, allowing nine hits and two walks, but only two runs, one of them earned, and got credit for the victory to improve to 5-2.

The Quaker offense collected nine hits with Skyler Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) responsible for a third of them, finishing 3-for-5 and scoring one of the team’s two runs. Michael Sumner (Mooresville, N.C.) scored the other GC run over a 1-of-5 performance with a steal. Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) had the team’s lone RBI, finishing 1-of-4 with a walk. Aaron Williams (Mocksville, N.C.) reached three times on a hit and two bases on balls while Nick Boles (Madison, N.C.) was the only Quaker outside of Dark with multiple hits, going 2-of-4. Quinn Madden did damage in game one for the guests, finishing 3-for-6 with a double and a long ball, scoring twice and driving in four. Gavin Collins also went deep, adding a triple, scoring twice and driving in two. Joe Munitz contributed two RBI’s and scoring twice in a 1-of-3 game that included two walks.

Neither starter factored into the decision in game two. Jacob Ray (Burlington, N.C.) was sharp for Guilford despite that, completing 4.0 innings, allowing just one run, it was earned, on four hits and two walks. Nick Mattfield fell one out short of matching his counterpart, throwing 3.2 innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on four hits and two walks. Chase Stewart (Charlotte, N.C.) got the win for GC in relief in the contest. He did surrender one unearned run on the hit he allowed, but he also fanned four to pick up the win and improve to 2-0. Nathaniel Mack took the loss for the Hornets, allowing four runs, all earned, on four hits and a walk to fall to 2-2.

Dark, Hairston, and Jordan Burrough (Greensboro, N.C.) all went deep in game two for the Quakers, each of them finishing with two RBI’s, the former also came just a double short of the cycle. Hairston scored twice and Dark came around three times. Sumner piled up four hits in his five at bats, scoring once and driving in one. Chase Wade (Archdale, N.C.) and Ethan George (Burlington, N.C.) each added RBI’s. Four of the five UofL runs came on one swing of the bat in game two, a pinch-hit grand slam by Sean Pokorak. Other than that, GC pitching kept the Hornet offense in check with only Collins recording multiple hits and only O’Kelly McWilliams having an extra-base hit. Benton Jones drove in the final visitors’ tally.

Before the game, the Guilford baseball team recognized their seniors and graduate students, Adam Anderson (Gastonia, N.C.), Nick Boles (Madison, N.C.), Jordan Burrough (Greensboro, N.C.), Nico Clark (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Ty Clark (Stoneville, N.C.), Logan Dodson (Eden, N.C.), Pat Gaalaas (Olney, Md.), Cameron Godbee (Pooler, Ga.), Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.), Dylan King (Rock Hill, S.C.), Jackson Marcellus (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Michael Sumner (Mooresville, N.C.), Chase Wade (Archdale, N.C.), and Aaron Williams (Mocksville, N.C.) for their contributions to the program.

The University of Lynchburg jumped on Marcello Ricigliano (Kernersville, N.C.) in the top of the first, although the right-hander did not get any help. He got the first man out before Benton Jones doubled. Quinn Madden followed, reaching on an error that permitted Jones to cross the plate. Sean Pokorak singled with another misplay, this one in the outfield, allowing both runners to advance an extra base. Ricigliano picked up the second out by way of a strikeout, but the Hornets took advantage of the extra out they were gifted, scoring four more in the inning with a walk, wild pitch, and three-straight singles constituting the rally as the visitors finished with five runs, but none of them earned, before the Quakers took their turn at bat.

Guilford would get one back in the home half. Skyler Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) led off with a single although he was replaced by Sumner on a fielders choice. Williams walked a few batters later, putting two on with two out. Ultimately, it would be a miscue that would allow the first run as Sumner would swipe third, but the throw would get away allowing him to dart home and make the score 5-1.

Things would settle down from there as both squads tightened things up defensively. Marcellus entered for the Quakers and tossed four shutout innings while Wesley Arrington, after allowing the unearned tally in the first, settled in to match that.

Unfortunately, the Hornets would break the game open in the sixth. A GC pitching change brought on Reese Baker (Ashland, Va.) and he fanned the leadoff man, but they would reach anyways on a wild pitch. A single put two men on base and Quinn Madden would drive his eighth home run of the season, a three-run shot, to extend the lead. What should have been the third out was recorded then another single and another long ball, this one off the bat of Gavin Collins, his sixth, ensued as the visitors reached double-digits. A walk prompted another change as Dodson entered. A steal of second and a Logan Webster single extended the lead to 11-1.

Guilford missed a chance to climb back in it in the seventh. With one out, consecutive singles by Dark, Sumner, and Hairston brought in a run. Williams followed by drawing a free pass to load the bases, but they were all left stranded and the home team had to settle for just the one run.

Madden added a run for UofL in the top of the ninth, bringing the final score to 12-2.

Following a flawless top of the first from Jacob Ray (Burlington, N.C.), Guilford’s offense needed just five pitches to grab to lead. Skyler Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) got a 2-2 offering to drive and hammered it, sending it well over the fence in straight-away right, for his fourth longball of the season. They would add on in the second inning too as Grayson Tudor (Reidsville, N.C.) started the frame working a lengthy at bat that ended with a free pass. He would swipe second then advance to third on a Nick Boles (Madison, N.C.) sacrifice bunt. Dark would plate him a couple of batters later, smoking a ball under the first baseman’s glove and down the line for a triple. Michael Sumner (Mooresville, N.C.) would follow, singling back through the box to extend the lead to 3-0.

After stranding two men on with one man out in the second. Lynchburg would get one back in the third. O’Kelly McWilliams IV opened the innings with a double into left-center, advancing another 90 feet on a bunt single by Brandon Garcia, and scoring on a single to left by Benton Jones. A walk to Quinn Madden would fill up the bases with no one out, but Ray would escape, fanning Riley O’Donovan then inducing a twin killing by Eric Hiett.

The Quakers added some insurance runs in the fifth. Sumner singled up the middle leading off, then Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) ambushed Hornet reliever Austin Riney, crushing the first pitch he saw over the fence in centerfield for a two-run shot, his 11th, extending the advantage to 5-1.

The Hornets evened the score in the top of the sixth. In his second inning of work, Griffin Icenhower (Kernersville, N.C.) allowed the leadoff batter to reach on an error, then a walk and a single on either side of the first out loaded the bases. GC turned to Chase Stewart (Charlotte, N.C.) who picked up the strikeout he needed, but then pinch hitter Sean Pokorak came up, worked a long at-bat, running the count full and got a pitch to drive, just clearing the Greensboro Monster for his fourth homer of the season with a game-tying grand slam.

Guilford struck back in the bottom half. Tudor singled but was replaced by Boles on a fielder’s choice before GC got a game-changing swing from a pinch hitter of their own. Jordan Burrough (Greensboro, N.C.) jumped on the first pitch he saw, driving it to the opposite field and out in straight-away right for his third longball of the season, all of them coming in the last two weeks.

In need of some breathing room, the Quakers would get some in the seventh. Hairston singled and Aaron Williams (Mocksville, N.C.) drew a walk before a well-executed sacrifice bunt by Chase Wade (Archdale, N.C.) moved them both into scoring position. Ethan George (Burlington, N.C.) plated Hairston with a single into center with Williams scooting home on a passed ball later in the inning. They got one more in the eighth with a Dark single, Sumner knock, Hairston’s program-record tying 94th career walk loading the bases. Dark scored on a fielders choice by Wade to extend the advantage.

Meanwhile, the GC bullpen was shutting things down, Stewart fanned two in a perfect seventh before Wade entered in what at that point was just outside of a save situation with a four-run cushion, and recorded the final six outs to finalize the 10-5 victory.

With the split, the Quakers remained in sole possession of sixth place to finish ODAC play. Their projected first round opponent is Shenandoah University who they split with back in March. It will be a best-of-three game series between GC and SU up in Winchester. Game dates, times, and other information is to be announced by the league offices.