Roberts' Blast In 11th Gives No. 5 Pirates 11th Straight Win
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Senior John Roberts launched a solo blast leading off the 11th inning to give the No. 5-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad a 6-5 walk-off win over Augusta State on Tuesday afternoon at Pirate Field, stretching the Pirates' win streak to 11.
It was the third career walk-off home run for Roberts in his career and the Pirates improved to 32-9 on the season with the victory. The Rincon, Ga., native had a two-run home run in the bottom of the 9th to beat Montevallo, 8-7, on March 27, 2010, and a solo shot in the bottom of the 10th to beat Salem International, 2-1, on February 19, 2011. Augusta State, with the loss, falls to 13-32 on the season.
Both starting pitchers endured a rough first inning as the Pirates' Travis Morris walked the first two batters and hit the third, loading the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout, Morris hit Justin Appel to drive in the first run, then a bases-loaded walk to Brac Barton brought home the second run. A ground ball scored the third as Augusta State took a 3-0 lead without recording a hit in the top of the first.
Armstrong answered in the bottom of the first with four runs against Jaguars starter Matt Blume. Alex Frederick started off the scoring with an RBI single, then a fielder's choice off the bat of R.J. Dennard brought home another run. Clayton Miller added a sacrifice fly and Cody Powell notched an RBI single to make the score 4-3.
The Jaguars took the lead with unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Ross Miles scored on a sacrifice fly in the fourth by Jeff Rice after reaching on an error by pitcher Eric Fowler, then Bryson Stack's ball back to pitcher Chess Malone was thrown over the head of the first baseman, allowing Barton to score the go-ahead run.
Armstrong had chances to tie late, leaving the bases loaded in the eighth, but finally brought across the tying run in the ninth after three walks brought up Miller with one out. Miller's fly ball to right scored pinch runner Tanner Jones with the tying run.
Neither team scored in the 10th and Roberts led off the 11th with the solo shot off of Augusta State reliever Zack Breaux (0-1), who gave up two hits and one run in one-plus inning of work, walking one.
The home run made a winner out of Armstrong reliever Joseph Snooks (1-0) - celebrating his 20th birthday on Tuesday - as he pitched a hitless 10th inning, striking out two for the victory.
Zach Taylor went 3-for-5 to lead the Pirates at the plate, while Roberts finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Caleb Saggus, Bradley Dennis and Barton each had a hit apiece as Armstrong pitchers held Augusta State to just three hits in the game.
Armstrong returns to action on Saturday, April 21st, hosting No. 25 UNC Pembroke in a 12:30 p.m. Peach Belt Conference doubleheader at Pirate Field.