Roberts delivered a double in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Matthew Branham from second base and lift the home-standing Cavaliers to a nonconference 10-9 win over King in a diamond battle between the two NCAA DII rivals at Stallard Field.
FINAL FRAME WIN
Branham (J.I. Burton) started off the offense for Virginia-Wise in the bottom of the ninth with a one-out walk.
Ethan Fletcher followed with his fourth hit of the game, a single to right field that moved Branham to second.
Roberts then doubled to push Branham across the plate with the win for the Cavaliers (11-10).
POWER AT THE PLATE
The game was all about hitting for both squads.
Virginia-Wise had 10 runs on 16 hits, while King (15-9) finished with nine runs on 14 hits.
“It was a typical midweek game,” said Virginia-Wise veteran coach Hank Banner. “I look up there in the ninth and it was the same number of runs, same number of hits and same number of errors for both teams. It doesn’t get much closer than that.”
Five of the Cavs’ runs came via three home runs. Dawson Cagle delivered a two-run homer in the first inning. Fletcher delivered a solo shot in the second and Tyler Campbell smacked a two-run shot in the fifth.
LOTS OF ARMS
The two teams used a bunch of pitchers. King threw four pitchers in the contest, while Banner elected to throw six different hurlers.
“We used some pitchers that hadn’t pitched in a while, and they did enough,” said Banner. “We made enough plays defensively. But I’m really pleased with how we swung the bats today.”
After being swept by national power and South Atlantic Conference foe Newberry last weekend, Banner said it was good for his team to get back in the win column.
The two teams swapped hit for hit and run for run throughout the contest.
“We stayed engaged and competed at the plate, even when we got down and we kept battling back enough to stay in it and make it competitive,” Banner stated.
Fletcher had a big game offensively and defensively for the Cavaliers. The sophomore transfer from Danville Community College went 4-for-4 at the plate with a home run, four RBIs and a run score. He also picked up the win after moving from left field to the pitcher’s mound in the ninth inning.
Fletcher (1-0) held King scoreless, surrendering one hit in his one inning to pick up the victory.
King’s Nic Blankenship (1-2) took the loss. The junior right-hander surrendered one run on two hits with one strikeout and one walk in two innings.
In addition to Fletcher’s big day, Branham and Hunter Meador finished with three hits apiece for Virginia-Wise, and Gabe Wurtz went 2-for-5 at the plate.
Rob Sari and Orozco Marquis, a transfer from the University of the Cumberlands, accounted for six of the Tornado hits. Each went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs apiece.
Bennett McCann finished 2-for-5 at the plate with an RBI for King.
Both teams are scheduled to be back in conference action this weekend.
King will travel to Southern Wesleyan for a Conference Carolina three-game series beginning Friday, while Virginia-Wise is scheduled to begin a three-game series Friday at Carson-Newman in South Atlantic Conference action.