March 3, 2013

Woods, Dennard Lead Pirates Past Cougars, 9-5

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Sophomore R.J. Dennard went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, including a three-run home run, and freshman Caleb Woods hurled 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball in notching his first collegiate victory as the Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad picked up a 9-5 Peach Belt Conference win over Columbus State on Sunday, salvaging a game in the three-game series with the Cougars.

The win halted a six-game win streak for Columbus State (9-10, 6-3 PBC), while also halting a three-game slide for the Pirates (9-5, 3-5 PBC). 

Each team plated a run in the first inning as CSU's Jimmy Obermark collected an RBI single in the top of the first and the Pirates pushed across a run in the bottom of the first when Casey Maloney scored on a double play ball.

The Pirates took the lead in the second inning on Dalton Johnson's two-RBI single to center field - Johnson had made it to third on the play, but was out at second base on an appeal play when he failed to touch the base.

A squeeze bunt RBI by Cody Sherlin made the lead 4-1 in the third, but Columbus State rallied to tie the game in the fifth inning on a two-run double by Jackson Oliver and an RBI double by Dustin Averett.

Armstrong went ahead again in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Dennard, but Columbus Stated tied it at 5-all on an RBI groundout by Cameron Scott in the top of the sixth.

The Pirates went ahead for good in the bottom of the sixth on a Clayton Miller RBI single and a three-run shot by Dennard to straightaway center field, his first home run of the season.

Meanwhile, Woods (1-1) came into the game in the fifth inning and limited the Cougars to just two hits and one run in 4 2/3 innings of relief, walking one and striking out four to pick up his first collegiate win.

Columbus State reliever Sean Muller (0-2) took the loss for the Cougars, giving up three hits and four runs - three earned - in one inning of work, walking two.

Dennard's 4-for-5 day led the Pirates at the plate while Johnson drove in a pair of runs in the game. Columbus State was led by Ryan Lewis' three-hit day and two hits from Obermark.

The win was also head coach Joe Roberts' 1,300th career win, making him only the second NCAA Division II head coach to reach the 1,300 win plateau. Roberts' career record in 34 seasons stands at 1,300-628.

Armstrong returns to action on Saturday, March 9, hosting USC Aiken in a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader beginning at 11:00 a.m. at Pirate Field.