Emerson, GA – UC Baseball began play on Friday in the Perfect Game Spring Swing in Emerson, Georgia as they took on the Mustangs of Mount Mercy University. UC would show a lot of grit and determination in the contest as they would score four unanswered runs in the late innings to take the 7-3 victory. The win moves the Patriots to 3-1 overall on the season.
The Mustangs would get to the Patriot starter Jeff Rivera (SR/Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) in the second inning as Ian Fitzsimmons would score on a RBI single by Trey Muilenberg to give MMU the 1-0 lead. UC would answer in the top of the fourth inning with two down. Jesse Reyes (SR/Palm Springs, CA), who reached on a leadoff hit by pitch, would score on a RBI single by Chase Schmittou (SR/Lincoln Park, MI) to tie the game at 1-1. Landon Byron (SR/Johnson City, TN) would follow with a RBI double down the left field line, scoring Schmittou all the way from first to give UC their first lead of the game at 2-1. A RBI single by Roberto Prado (JR/Vega Baja, P.R.) drove in Byron as well before the inning would come to a close with UC leading 3-1.
The Mustangs would chase Rivera out of the game in the bottom of the fifth after two runs would score to tie the game at 3-3 heading to the sixth. There, Landon Byron would strike again with a RBI single to score courtesy runner Britton Elmore (SO/Cecilia, KY) to make it 4-3 UC. In the top of the seventh, it was another two-out rally that sent the Patriots over the top. With runners on the corners, Schmittou would come up big again with a RBI double down the right field line to extend UC's lead to 5-3. With two on, Byron would punctuate his day with a two-run triple scoring both Bryan Benz (SO/Arlington, TX) and Schmittou to make it 7-3 Patriots. A 1-2-3 seventh inning thrown by Nicholas Purpera (SO/Gonzales, LA) would seal the victory for UC.
The win would go to Brian Way (JR/Sitka, AK) who went 1.1 innings allowing no runs on one hit and two walks while striking out two. Rivera would get the no decision after 4.2 innings of work giving up three earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two. Byron finished the day 3-4 with a triple, a double, four RBIs, and a run scored. Schmittou added a 2-3 showing with a double, two RBIs, and two runs scored. Mount Mercy's Bryan Natter was tagged with the loss going 1.1 innings allowing three earned runs on five hits with one strikeout.
UC returns to action on Saturday in the Perfect Game Spring Swing with a doubleheader. The Patriots will face Bethel University (TN) at 12 pm followed by a game against Reinhardt University at 3 pm. You can catch the action live on the UC Sports Network as Brandon Hensley and Bo Kidd will have the call.
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