TIMES STAFF REPORT
PIKEVILLE — The Pikeville College baseball team returned home and came away with a split in a doubleheader with the University of Virginia’s College at Wise Highland Cavaliers at Davis Park. The longball helped propel the Cavs to a 6-3 victory in game one, while the Bears used a big third inning to take the nightcap by the same score.
Pikeville continued its recent trend when it scored first in the affair, as leadoff hitter Donald Tardy, who had reached on a hit-batsman and moved up to second on a steal, scored when Wise’s catcher threw the ball away when Tardy stole third base.
Sophomore Ryan Bartolon, who had reached on a walk and moved up to third on the error, later came around to score on an RBI single by sophomore catcher Josh Adams (Pikeville), which gave the Bears an early 2-0 advantage.
But the Cavs cut into the lead in the top of the second when starting pitcher Brad Robbins connected on a solo home run to lead off the inning, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Wise would later tie the score on a dinger from Jorge LaBoy in the top of the third.
Pikeville would answer, however, in the bottom of the fourth, when freshman Kory Darby ripped a pinch-hit single up the middle, scoring fellow freshman Maverick Barnhill (Grayson), who had reached on a walk.
The Bears held the 3-1 lead into the sixth, but starter Pete Kefalos got into some trouble, allowing a single and a walk to open the inning. With two on and nobody out, Robbins again stepped into the box and crushed a towering homer, this one to dead centerfield, putting Wise on top 5-3.
The lead was plenty for the southpaw Robbins, who did not allow a runner past first base after the fourth inning.
The Cavs added another run in the top of the seventh when Robbins again contributed, this time with an RBI single. Now up 6-3, Robbins was relieved in the bottom of the seventh by right hander David Jones, who retired the Bears in order to secure the game one victory.
Robbins was the difference-maker, going 3-4 with two home runs and five RBI while also picking up the victory on the mound by going six innings and giving up three earned on three hits and striking out four.
The loss fell to Kefalos (1-3), who gave up five earned over 5-1/3 innings, striking out seven.
The game one loss ended the Bears’ winning streak at four games, matching their season high, which occurred earlier this year during their spring trip to Florida.
Game two again saw the Bears jump out in front, only this time it would be in bunches.
The Bears picked up five runs off Cavs starter Matt Begley in the bottom of the third, courtesy of three hits and one Wise error.
The Bears added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth, when Bartolon lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Darby, who had reached on a one-out single and moved up to third on a double by John Williamson (Canada).
The Pikeville lead was 6-0, but Robbins was not finished. Hitless in his first two at-bats, the sophomore belted a towering two-run blast over the fence in right field for his third home run of the day and his seventh RBI.
Wise would get one more in the top of the seventh, but it was too little, too late, as the Bears held on for the 6-3 win.
The victory went to freshman right hander Justin Potter (Flatwoods), who went the distance, giving up three earned on five hits, while striking out a season-high seven batters. The win was the first of Potter’s collegiate career.
Darby paced the Bears’ offense, going 2-3 with a double and a single, two runs scored, and two RBI. Senior Adam Collins (Paintsville) also had a pair of hits and a run scored in the win.
With the split the Bears move to 17-16-1 on the season.
Pikeville will host MSC frontrunner Lindsey Wilson today at 1 p.m.