WINGATE, N.C. – Led by sophomore Steven Cooper’s 4-for-5 performance with his first home run of the season, Anderson University baseball earned a narrow 10-9 win over Wingate in South Atlantic Conference action Sunday afternoon at Ron Christopher Stadium.
With the victory, the Trojans improve to 7-5 in SAC action on the year, while Wingate stumbles to 15-4 overall and 10-4 for the league. AU avoided the sweep to the Bulldogs, who claimed both games of the doubleheader on Saturday.
Cooper sets a new season-high with his four hits on the afternoon and blasted his first home run of the year over the right field wall in the first inning, giving the Trojans a 2-0 advantage to begin the contest. The sophomore also tallied his 10th double of the 2014 campaign and finished the afternoon with a season-high five RBI and two runs scored.
Senior center fielder Josh Hickman followed Cooper with three hits with an RBI and a run scored, while the trio of Brett Cash, Kyle Bailey and Paul Como each notched two hits, highlighted by Como’s team-leading 11th double of the season. Designated hitter Jonathan Zalud also added the team’s third double of the day.
Reliever JT Trujillo earned the win, coming on for junior Landon Beck in the fifth inning. Beck completed four innings and struck out four Bulldogs, while giving up two earned runs, both coming in the first inning. Following Trujillo, junior right-hander Evan Jordan completed three innings and struck out three hitters, earning his first save of the year.
After the score reached 2-2 after two innings, the Trojans crossed three runs in the top of the third inning, as Cooper singled to bring in Cash. Two batters later, Zalud doubled to right field, scoring Cooper and Bailey, giving Anderson a 5-2 advantage.
The Trojans tallied another run in the fourth and scored three more in the seventh, highlighted by doubles from Como and Cooper. Despite the 9-3 lead, the Bulldog offense came alive in the bottom-half. Wingate totaled five hits for five runs in the seventh, headlined by Shane Billings’ double, scoring Blake Prince. With the five-run inning, WU pulled within one run at 9-8.
After Como was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, Hickman singled up the middle, brining Como home for the eventual game-winning run.
Wingate tried to repeat Saturday’s heroics in the ninth inning, but was held to just one run after Jordan struck out Prince to close the game. With Jordan’s three strikeouts on the afternoon, the right-hander ties his season-high, while tying his season-high in innings pitched.
Anderson returns to action next weekend when it continues its SAC road trip at Catawba. The three-game set is scheduled to begin on Friday at 6 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.