HARROGATE, TN -- A steady flow of hits as well as some nifty bullpen work led the Railsplitters to a series-clinching 7-3 win over the Coker College Cobras in South Atlantic Conference on Sunday.
Lincoln Memorial (23-12-1, 15-5 SAC) held on to the top spot in the league standings, warding off Catawba (swept Mars Hill this weekend) by winning two of three over Coker (19-16, 9-14 SAC), whose slim playoff chances were diminished.
Sophomore Wes Todd (Franklin, TN) battled through his five-inning start, allowing seven hits and three runs with five strikeouts. And Todd (5-1) was provided with a win thanks to a tie-breaking score in the fifth and some tight bullpen work from Ian Creager (Englewood, OH) and Josh Coker (Murphy, NC) to close the door.
Creager went three strong after taking over in the sixth, allowing only two hits and no run before giving way to Coker, who wiggled out of a jam with two on and one out in the top of the ninth by inducing a 6-4-3 double play to preserve the victory.
There was no shortage of offense for the Railsplitters, who scattered 14 hits and put a base runner on in six of their eight plate appearances. Seven different hitters contributed two hits, headlined by Scott Miller (Knoxville, TN) and Colin Buckner (Harrodsburg, KY) with two RBI apiece on 2-for-4 outings. Miller doubled while Buckner homered. Jonathan Lowe (Sidney, OH) and Kelvin Brito (Yabucoa, Puerto Rico) each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Jean Rodriguez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) and Isaac Woody (Morristown, TN) bolstered the bottom of the order with two hits and two runs apiece. Kyle Floyd (Windsor, IL) added a two-hit day with an RBI.
The Cobras came out fired up in the top of the first, rallying behind T.J. Giczkowski's two-out single to score on an Ernie Kirkwood RBI single. The Railsplitters bounced back to tie the game with Buckner's solo bomb in the bottom of the second, but an RBI ground out by Giczkowski and a solo home run by Kirkwood in the top of the third bulged the Cobras' lead to 3-1.
Coker scored all three of its runs in the first three frames as the Railsplitters closed out the contest by scoring six-unanswered runs. Lincoln Memorial took the lead in the home half of the third as Miller scalded a sacrifice fly out to center and Brito and Buckner popped run-scoring singles.
The Railsplitters scored in three of the next five innings to build up the lead for what proved to be a stingy LMU bullpen. Floyd drove home Brito with a single in the fifth, while Woody singled and later scored on a Lowe fly out in the sixth. Miller capped the scoring and added another insurance run with a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth, driving in Rodriguez.
Creager sat the Cobras down in order in the eighth frame before giving way to Josh Coker, who was denied his 10th save of the season after the Railsplitters scored in the bottom of the eighth to kill off the save opportunity.
The Railsplitters head to Frankfort, Kentucky on Tuesday, April 8 for a 1 p.m. non-conference contest against the Kentucky State Thorobreds.