FLORENCE, SC –First baseman Bobby Bassler ripped a two-out, run-scoring single to right field in the bottom of the eighth inning to hand sixth-seeded Flagler College a 4-3 win over 28th-ranked and fifth-seeded UNC Pembroke, Friday evening (May 12) in game 12 of the 2017 Peach Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.
Flagler (31-23) remains alive in the double-elimination tournament, while the Braves (39-14) suffer their first loss. The two squads will meet again at a time to be determined (either 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.) on Saturday in an elimination game.
The Saints trailed 3-2 entering the eighth. Second baseman Cole Ondrejka led off with an opposite-field double down the left field line. Catcher Igor Baez followed with a walk, but he was forced out at second base on a fielder's choice grounder by designated hitter Jason Moore. With one out, right fielder Jake Hathaway scorched a single up the middle that actually went between UNCP reliever Aaron Biggerstaff's (2-1) legs to score Ondrejka with the tying run. Moore then raced home from second on Bassler's hit to right.
Flagler freshman reliever Ethan Jones (4-0) retired the Braves in order in the ninth, his second scoreless frame, to earn the win. Earlier in the day, he recorded a save in Flagler's 8-4 victory over 13th-ranked USC Aiken.
Center fielder Dylan Jones and Hathaway both finished with two hits for Flagler. Jones led off the fifth with a double down the right field line to set a new team and conference season record with 27 two-baggers.
Left fielder Luke Jackson and designated hitter Stibel Aleman Saba both went 2-for-4 to lead UNCP.
The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on Aleman Saba's RBI-single to right. Flagler answered with a pair of runs in their half of the frame. Freshman third baseman Ja'Kobi Dasher plated the tying run with a bases-loaded ground out to first. Bassler then gave the Saints a 2-1 advantage with a sacrifice fly to right field.
UNCP scored single tallies on sacrifice flies in the fourth – by Alex Simpson – and seventh innings – by River Ryan – to assume a 3-2 lead. The catch on Ryan's drive to left center was a fully-laid out diving catch by Jones that help keep the margin at only one run.
Braves' starter Kyle Boraski allowed only two runs on six hits in six innings of work.