PEMBROKE – First baseman Steven Cooper's ill-timed error with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning allowed Ben Schmucker to scurry home with the game-winning run as 32nd-ranked UNCP completed a weekend sweep of visiting Anderson with a 4-3 comeback win over the Trojans on Sunday afternoon.
The triumph marked the 11th-straight series victory for UNCP (3-0), who also posted its third-straight three-game sweep of the Trojans as well. Anderson (0-3), who last tasted victory over the Braves in the 2010 series opener, has now dropped 19 of its last 22 matchups with the Black & Gold.
After recording 34 hits in a doubleheader sweep of the Trojans on Saturday, hits came at a premium for the Braves in the finale. Schmucker scored once on a 3-for-5 day at the plate, and Dalton Knight drove in a pair of runs on a 2-for-4 hitting line, but the Black & Gold got lone base hits from just four other players.
Erick Sanderson scored once on a 3-for-6 outing for the visitors, while Josh Hickman, Tony Price and Paul Como each tallied 2-for-5 showings for the Trojans. Anderson finished the game with a 13-9 advantage in the hits column.
Newcomer Jimmie Davis (1-0) struck out three, walked one and scattered three hits across three relief innings to pick up the win for the Braves, who also got solid outings from two other pitchers as well. Starter Dale Innes struck out nine in five innings of work, but did not get a decision despite allowing three earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. Logan Cook struck out four and yielded two hits and a walk in three innings of relief, but did not get a decision either.
Landon Beck (0-1) struck out a pair of Braves and surrendered just one hit in three innings of relief, but saddled the tough-luck loss anyway.
UNCP took the game's first lead on Jordan Edgerton's RBI single in the first, but Anderson answered with a pair of runs in the second to grab its first lead of the series. The Braves scored twice more on Knight's two-run single in the third, but the Trojans knotted the score up in the fourth on Josh Hickman's infield single.
Schmucker delivered a one-out single to get something going for the Braves in the 11th and, after Drew Alford reached on an infield error moments later, the Trojans opted to intentionally walk Zade Denton to juice the bases. Chad Whitehead's 1-1 knock took a hard bounce to the right side and careened out of Cooper's glove.
The Braves will continue a season-opening 11-game home stand on Saturday when they suit up to entertain Salem International in a three-game series at Sammy Cox Field. The squads will open up the weekend with a 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon doubleheader, before closing out the set on Sunday. First pitch of the series finale has been set for noon.