Vikings Defeat Cougars
The Union Pines baseball team used quality pitching, sharp defense and solid hitting to notch an 11-2 victory over Southwestern Randolph Friday at Viking Field in Cameron.
Viking head coach Chad Hill saw his squad improve to 1-1 on the season with the non-league win over the visiting 3-A Cougars (1-1) after dropping a 16-6 decision on the road to 4-A Pinecrest two days earlier.
“It is nice to be 1-1 at the end of the first week of the season,” said Hill. “We’ve played two good teams and any time you can split against two good clubs it is something positive. So we are excited with where we are at right now.”
Union Pines played errorless baseball in the field against the Cougars while making a few web gems along the way.
Possibly the most sterling and savvy defensive play of the night for the Vikes was a double play initiated by junior Mason Collins in the top of the fifth inning.
With one out and runners on first and second base, the third-year starter snagged a hard hit grounder from his position at third base. Then the crafty veteran calmly tagged the approaching base runner, before making a nice throw over to first base for a force out to end the inning and help preserve the 3-0 Vike lead
In the bottom of the frame Collins did work with his bat, belting a no-brainer high in the night sky for a two-run homer to straight away right field.
Collins’ moonshot extended the Union Pines lead to 5-0. On the night the southpaw slugger went 3-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs and a double.
Ultimately Union Pines scored a total of six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to bust the game wide open.
As the starting pitcher Collins was steady on the mound, pounding his two- and four-seam fastballs all over the strike zone, while mixing in a change and curve to keep the Cougar batters off-balance.
Although he left an inning too soon to be eligible for the win, Collins allowed no runs, one hit and one walk while fanning two batters in three innings of work.
Senior Noble Davis got the first of 13 Union Pines hits on the night when he sent the first pitch he saw deep and far over the fence in center for a solo home run. The blast came with one out in bottom half of the first inning to give the Vikes a 1-0 lead.
A one-out triple by junior Emmitt Carden in the third frame led to the second Union Pines run. Senior Tyler Barber blistered a double the other way to lead off the bottom of the fourth and later scored on an RBI single by Carden that gave the Vikings a 3-0 edge
Sophomore Clay Thomas tossed the fourth-through-sixth innings for Union Pines to pick up the win. Senior Tyler Davis closed out the game by retiring the side in order in the top of the seventh, while registering two strikeouts
Cougar Jake Johnson delivered a two-run round-tripper that easily cleared the fence in left-center during the sixth inning to account for the two Cougar runs.
Union Pines returns to the diamond Tuesday in Asheboro for a nonconference clash with the 3-A Asheboro Blue Comets at 5 p.m.
R H E
SW Randolph 000 002 0 — 2 4 5
Union Pines 101 162 x — 11 13 0
R. Daniel, C. Miller (5), Johnson (5) and C. Gallimore (6); Collins, Thomas (4) and T. Davis (7); WP – Thomas, LP – Daniel; Leading hitters – (S) Johnson 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, Daniel 1-1, R, 2 BB, B. Cranford 1-2. (U) Collins 3-4 HR, 2B, 2 RBI, SB, Carden 3-5, 3B, R, 2 RBI, J. Thompson 2-4, 2 R, Barber 2-4 2B 2 R RBI, A. Siege 1-2 RBI, BB.
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