Strong pitching leads Braves to victory
Willis allows four hits in seven shutout innings vs. Pirates
SAVANNAH, Ga. - No. 12 UNC Pembroke used three pitchers in a five-hit shutout, handing No. 11-ranked Armstrong Atlantic Sate University its first Peach Belt Conference series loss of the season with a 4-0 win on Monday at Pirate Field.
UNC Pembroke starter Brian Willis (4-2) limited Armstrong to four hits and two walks through seven innings of work, striking out six to notch the win. Brandon Huffman worked a scoreless eighth and closer Braxton Lewis pitched his 25th scoreless inning of the season with a hitless ninth.
The Braves (28-7, 10-7 PBC) halted the Pirates' streak of three straight league series wins to start the 2011 season. UNCP also captured its first league road series victory of the season.
With the loss, Armstrong falls to 25-8 overall and 9-3 in the Peach Belt.
The Braves took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI double by Brad Bridgeman and a wild pitch that scored Kenny Mickens. UNC Pembroke added single runs in the fourth inning - a sacrifice fly by Joe Mangum - and the fifth inning - an RBI single by Mickens - off of Armstrong starter Scott Strickland.
Strickland (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season for the Pirates. He scattered 12 hits, giving up four runs and four walks to go along with four strikeouts in eight innings.
Armstrong's best chance to score against Willis came in the fifth inning as Alex Frederick and Michael Price had back-to-back two-out singles. A wild pitch moved Frederick to third and Price stole second, but Willis struck out John Roberts looking to end the threat.
Frederick was the only Pirate on the day with multiple hits, going 2-for-4. J.J. Williams had three hits to lead the Braves offensively, while Mickens and Bridgeman each had two hits and an RBI.
Pembroke has now won four of its last five, and Armstrong dropped consecutive home games for the first time since early February.