Rocky Mount, N.C. - N.C. Wesleyan's baseball, lacrosse, and softball teams were all in action on Wednesday afternoon against USA South opponents, highlighted by baseball's 7-4 win over Averett University at Bauer Field.
BASEBALL (15-16, 8-7 USA South)
After splitting Friday's doubleheader at Averett, the Bishops and Cougars wrapped up their conference series at Bauer Field with Wesleyan taking the rubber game by a 7-4 score. Tied 1-1 heading to the fourth, junior Brandon Wheat's solo blast to left put the Bishops on top, while RBI-singles by Nate Gardner and Logan Andrews in the fifth made the score 4-1 Bishops. The Cougars countered with three of the game's next four runs to get as close as 5-4, but sophomore Brad Pennington connected on a solo homer and Alec Titmus added an RBI-single in the ninth to secure the victory. Starting pitcher J.D. Makauskas (3-2) earned the win on hill, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with six strikeouts over five complete. Luke Mills and Gardner split the final four innings, with Gardner notching his first save. Offensively, Pennington and Gardner ripped a trio of hits each.
LACROSSE (1-11, 0-5 USA South)
Over at Scalf Field, Wesleyan and Salem engaged in a tight match from start to finish with the Spirits escaping with a 13-12 victory. After leading 6-5 at the half, Salem took its largest lead, 11-7, with just over 15 minutes remaining. Back-to-back scores by freshman Alexandra Cucinotta cut the deficit in half, and after a Spirit goal, freshman Samantha Valeros notched back-to-back goals of her own to make the score 12-11 with 4:42 to go. Salem scored its final goal at the 3:25 mark, and Cucinotta answered with a free position goal to again pull the Bishops to within one with a minute remaining. The Bishops, who controlled 22-of-27 draws on the day, saw the Spirits collect the pivotal ensuing draw, but Wesleyan forced a turnover with roughly 20 seconds left. Cucinotta advanced the ball up the field quickly only to see a Salem foul with nine ticks to go slow up play, and unfortunately, the Bishops were unable to get off a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds. Cucinotta finished with seven goals, ten draws, and nine ground balls to pace the Bishops. Valeros added four goals, while Ken'Dreall Copeland also notched a score.
SOFTBALL (19-11, 9-5 USA South)
Coming off a two-game sweep of Methodist on Tuesday by 25-0 and 7-2 scores, the Bishop softball team headed to Averett for a key league doubleheader on Wednesday. The Cougars proceeded to hand Wesleyan a pair of heartbreaking losses. The opener saw AU's Amanda Wright blast a walk-off 2-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to erase a 2-2 tie and give the Cougars a 4-2 victory, while the nightcap saw Averett steal a 1-0 win behing a stellar pitching performance from Taylor Bailey. AU plated the game's lone run on the wild pitch in the fifth. Seniors Peyton Hyler and Kaitlyn Checkan were the only Bishops to notch more than one hit on the day, while hurlers Beth Braswell and Logan Lowery suffered the losses in the circle despite solid performances by each.
All three teams return to action quickly. Baseball heads to Lynchburg on Thursday for a two-game set beginning at 1:00pm, while lacrosse continues USA South play at Huntington on Friday. Softball hosts Salem College at 2:00pm on Friday at Edge Field, with baseball opening up a three-game series versus Ferrum at noon that same day at Bauer. Additionally, baseball and softball will each be honoring their senior classes at home on Saturday.
Stay tuned to www.ncwcsports.com for updates!