Joseph Marvin: Assistant Sports Information Director
BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College Tornados Baseball team (3-4) fell in both games of a non-conference, seven-inning doubleheader to the Toccoa Falls Screaming Eagles (5-6) on Saturday afternoon at Gil Coan Field. Toccoa Falls took the first game by a final of 12-7 as a late Tornado rally ran out of time, while the Screaming Eagles came back from an early 5-1 deficit to claim a 7-5 victory in the second game.
Brevard was unable to pull off a late comeback effort, as the Tornados dug themselves too big of a hole to climb out of.
Toccoa Falls' offense plated two runs or more in five of the seven innings played, scoring four runs in a critical fifth inning to push itself past the Tornados.
Kross Robinson (0-1, 6.23 ERA) got the starting nod for game one, lasting four innings. Robinson gave up six runs (5 ER) on seven hits, striking out five batters while also walking five. The junior RHP out of Morganton, N.C. was unable to overcome a shaky first inning, as his pitch count rose to a grand total of 89 pitches on 23 batters faced.
Wilkes enjoyed a 2-for-4 performance at the plate, scoring once while driving in two runs. Wilkes currently leads all Tornados in 2019 with 8 RBI's.
Ryan Roon also posted a 2-for-4 mark at the plate, coming across once to score along with bringing around two baserunners while recording BC's second triple of 2019.
While pinch-hitting Burchett recorded his first-career hit alongside his first collegiate RBI when a ringing double down the left field line plated Johnny Flynn in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Toccoa Falls struck quickly with two runs in the first off of a two-RBI single. In the home half of the first, Wilkes took advantage of a TFC miscue, driving in Roon after an errant throw by the Screaming Eagles' shortstop.
Another Toccoa Falls two-RBI single pushed its lead to 4-1 in the top of the second inning. The Screaming Eagles used an RBI single and a passed ball in the top of the fourth to extend their lead to 6-1, ending Robinson's outing.
After the Tornados cut Toccoa Fall's lead to 6-2, the Screaming Eagles posted a four-run fifth inning at the expense of BC pitcher Hayden Price. Price hit a batter before recording a strikeout and two walks to load the bases with one out. BC freshman RHP Bryce Bowers came into the game in a jam to begin his collegiate pitching career, as Toccoa Falls used a fielder's choice RBI and three RBI singles in a row to plate all of Price's runners and one of Bowers', extending the lead to 10-2.
Brevard outscored Toccoa Falls 5-2 in the fifth and sixth innings thanks to solid hitting by Roon, Wilkes, and Burchett, but it proved too little too late as Toccoa Falls' relief pitcher Osmer send the Tornados down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to secure a 12-7 victory.
Freshman LHP Matthew Scavotto (1-0, 2.89 ERA) picked up where he left off last week, as the reigning USA South Rookie Pitcher of the week recorded six strikeouts in the game's first three innings.
Scavotto got some early help from his offense, as Wilkes drilled a two-RBI single in the bottom of the first inning to plate Beau Shealy and Brae Wooten to put the Tornados on top, 2-0. Brevard extended its lead when Shealy pushed a bunt down the first base line to score Holden Lanier, giving BC a 3-0 cushion.
The Screaming Eagles pushed across their first run via a close play at home plate that went in their favor. However, Scavotto ended Toccoa Falls' threat, starting a groundball double play himself and striking out TFC for the inning's final out.
Brevard tacked on two more runs in the home half of the third, as Holden Lanier and Burchett picked up RBI singles to push the Tornados up 5-1.
The Screaming Eagles used a four-run top of the fifth to chase Scavotto out of the game and give freshman RHP Alex Winchester (1-1, 1.59 ERA) trouble. Scavotto was pulled after two runners reached for Toccoa Falls via a single and an error, followed by a ringing two-RBI double. Winchester, who earned his first collegiate win on Thursday against Toccoa Falls, came on with one out in the fifth with an inherited runner on third after a flyout moved up TFC's Clinton Dempsey. Toccoa Falls quickly hit a gap shot into right-center field, scoring Dempsey as TFC's Allen stood at third with a triple. A passed ball brought Allen home to knot things up at 5-5.
The Tornados couldn't capitalize in the home half of the fifth by stranding two runners. The Screaming Eagles registered all of the runs that they would need for a victory in the top half of the sixth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases up for TFC, and after an infield fly produced the inning's first out, TFC would plate the game's go-ahead run. A costly Tornado error left the bases loaded and gave the Screaming Eagles a 6-5 advantage. Freshman RHP Kyle Williams (0-0, 4.26 ERA) came on in relief, and despite a leadoff walk that plated an inherited run, Williams did great work to limit the damage to a 7-5 Toccoa Falls lead.
Brevard's bats went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth, and despite a late two-out rally in the game's final inning, the Tornados were denied as the Screaming Eagles prevailed by a final of 7-5. TFC's relief pitcher Jonathan Simpson (1-1) earned the victory, while Winchester was saddled with the loss.
The Tornados return to action next weekend as they open USA South Conference play with a three-game weekend series in Demorest, Ga. against Piedmont College on February 22-24.
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