COLUMBUS – Columbus State got another strong pitching performance by Bryan Headley and hit its first two home runs of the season to defeat No. 23/14 UNC Pembroke 4-1 Sunday afternoon in the rubber game of a three-game Peach Belt Conference series. The game took place at Ragsdale Field in Columbus.
With the series victory, Columbus State has now won 10 straight home conference series, a streak that dates back to February 2012.
Similar to the first two games of the series, UNC Pembroke (7-2, 1-2 PBC) had runners all over the place in the first few innings. The Braves failed to score after a one-out double in the first and then left two more on the base paths in the second despite putting runners at second and third with just one out. Headley escaped the second inning jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
Columbus State (5-5, 2-1) kept the momentum in its dugout by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Dustin Averett put together a good at-bat singling to the right-centerfield gap to get things started. Mike McClellan, who recorded the game-winning hit in game two of the series, followed lacing a double off the right-centerfield wall to put two runners in scoring position.
After a balk by Zach Andrews brought in the first run of the game, Tim Massengale hit a solid single through the left side of the infield to make it a 2-0 game.
Despite allowing another single, Andrews limited the damage to just two runs.
The following inning Jimmy Obermark increased CSU's lead to three with just one swing of the bat as he hit a long home run over the left field wall. It was the first home run of the season for the Cougars.
UNC Pembroke had another golden opportunity to break through in the fourth as the Braves loaded the bases with a single, a walk and a hit batsman. However, Headley punched out Chad Whitehead looking to keep the visitors off the board.
An inning later, Drew Cole went deep over the right field fence with one out to make it a 3-1 game. Headley would allow a single but that was it as he exited the game after the fifth with the lead.
Columbus State would answer the home run with one of its own in the sixth as McClellan continued his hot hitting connecting on a pitch from Andrews and sending it over the left-centerfield wall to increase CSU's lead to 4-1.
The Braves stranded another runner in scoring position in the seventh and, an inning later, UNCP recorded a leadoff walk but the Cougars turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play to end the side.
Trey Watson entered the game in the ninth and shut the door for the Columbus State victory.
Bryan Headley (2-1) picked up his second victory of the season tossing five innings allowing one run on five hits. He had three strikeouts. Headley has allowed just two earned runs through the first 15 innings he has pitched this season.
Sean Muller pitched three scoreless innings in relief setting up Trey Watson's second save of the season.
Zach Andrews (0-1) took the loss for UNC Pembroke allowing four runs on 10 hits in six innings. Connor Pratt tossed the final two innings for the Braves.
Mike McClellan led the way for Columbus State going 2-for-4 with a home run and a double. Brendan Collins (2-for-4) added two hits while stealing two bases. Jackson Oliver (2-for-4) had his sixth multi-hit performance of the season.
Drew Cole was 2-for-3 with a double and home run.