The Motlow Bucks slammed three home runs, including a game-winning grand slam by Troy Weatherly in the bottom of the sixth inning, and won their third consecutive game by beating visiting Lawson State 11-5 Tuesday afternoon at the Driver Baseball Complex on Motlow’s Moore County campus.
The Bucks (3-4, 0-0) have rebounded nicely since their season opening trip to Alabama, where they lost 11-6 and 3-2 to Wallace State and 8-2, 1-0 to Birmingham Southern. Motlow played its first home games last weekend, sweeping Vincennes, Ind., 4-3, 9-3. The Bucks will travel to Niceville, Fla., for a three-game series against Northwest Florida State College this weekend, with a single game scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. and a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.
After falling behind 2-0 against Lawson State, Motlow’s Johnny Mangini hit an opposite-field homer in the third inning to give the Bucks a 3-2 lead and Jake Chaney followed that with a two-run blast to give Motlow a 5-2 advantage. After Lawson chipped away at the lead and tied the score at five, Weatherly hit his third homer of the season in the sixth with the bases full to give the Bucks back the lead, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish again.
Colin Smith got the start on the mound for the Bucks, allowing four hits and two earned runs in three innings. Chase Dixon pitched the fourth, also allowing two runs to score. Dallas Bryan (1-1) pitched the middle three innings and got the win, allowing just two hits with two strikeouts. Kobe Foster notched his second save, pitching the final 1.2 innings of hitless baseball with a pair of strikeouts.
Vincennes was originally scheduled to visit for a three-game series last weekend, but wet field conditions forced the teams to only play a Friday doubleheader.
Game one saw the Bucks stage a comeback, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win 4-3. Carson Pack got the win on the mound in relief of Jase Carvell, who started and went 4.2 innings allowing seven hits and striking out six. Foster picked up his first save with a perfect seventh inning where he struck out the side. Chaney had two hits, including a double, and two runs batted in, while De’Andre Pitts also drove in a run.
In Friday’s second game the Bucks jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Logan Walters (1-1) picked up the win, pitching four innings and allowing only two hits and one earned run. Foster struck out six in two innings of work and Michael Bruhin struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh inning.
Paul McIntosh had a home run for the Bucks, while Patrick Music, Colin Smith and Kirby Smith each had doubles. Pitts and Nathan Sanders each drove in two runs, with Sanders adding a stolen base.
The Bucks didn’t play badly in their first four games in Alabama, they just didn’t play well enough to get a win. There were quality pitching performances and good run production, just not together in the same game.
Tyler Harmon (0-1) allowed only one hit and struck out five in 6.1 innings pitched on Feb. 3, but the Bucks managed only three hits themselves and lost 1-0 to Birmingham Southern. Carvell had a quality start against Wallace State the day before, scattering six hits and allowing no earned runs in four innings, but Motlow managed only one hit in their 3-2 loss. In the season opener the Bucks got home runs from McIntosh and Weatherly, but Motlow’s defense committed six errors.
Following their trip to Florida, the Bucks will host Wallace State-Hanceville for a single game at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The following weekend, Marshalltown, Iowa will visit for a four-game series, with doubleheaders scheduled both Saturday and Sunday at noon at the Driver Complex.