Baseball Drops Two to UNC Pembroke on Opening Day

ANDERSON, S.C. – Highlighted by four home runs in the opening game of the doubleheader, Anderson University baseball dropped both games of the twin bill to Peach Belt Conference opponent UNC Pembroke 14-11 and 3-0 Saturday at Anderson Memorial Stadium.

After the Trojans pounded out 14 hits for 11 runs in the opening matchup, the Braves matched the AU attack with 16 hits for 14 runs. In the second game, the Trojan bats were cold, tallying just four hits for the seven-inning game.

Leading the way offensively was sophomore middle infielder Kyle Bailey with four hits on the day, beginning with a 3-for-4 performance with a home run and three runs scored in the first game. Bailey followed the three-hit game with one of AU’s four hits for the second half of the night.

Sophomore transfer Garrett Bernardo joined Bailey as the only other Trojan with hits in both games, beginning with a home run in the first game, followed by a two-hit performance in Game Two. Bernardo’s day was headlined by a ninth inning three-run home run for his first round-tripper in the Black and Gold.

Fellow transfer LJ Newman, who started Game 1 behind the plate, also posted his first home run in an Anderson uniform in Game One, as the Greer, S.C. native went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored to join Bailey as two Trojans with three hits.

Also posting multiple hits for the afternoon was sophomore first baseman Steven Cooper and senior outfielder Josh Hickman as the duo both posted 2-for-5 afternoons in the opening game. The tandem combined for three runs and two RBI for the game.

In Game Two, senior Thomas Goodman tossed six scoreless innings before running into trouble in the seventh inning. Goodman finished the night giving up just three hits and tallying three strikeouts.

UNCP’s bottom half of its lineup produced as hitters 6-thru-9 were 12-for-27 (.444) with nine runs scored and 12 RBI. Left fielder Victor Zecca headlined the bunch with three hits, four RBI and two runs scored as his day began with a two-run home run in the top of the second inning.

Goodman’s counterpart in Game Two, Garrett Hickman, earned the complete game shutout, going seven innings and giving up just four hits with five strikeouts.

“Pembroke is a good team,” Anderson head coach Joe Miller said. “I liked our effort tonight and the way we hit the ball. It always hurts scoring 11 runs and lose, but we’ll look for a win tomorrow.”

UNC Pembroke’s manager, Paul O’Neil earned his 500th victory with the 3-0 win in the second game on the day. O’Neil became one of 41 coaches to claim 500 or more victories at the Division II level.

Anderson returns to Memorial Stadium for the final game of the three-game set with the Braves on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.

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