West Alabama opens series with 6-2 win against No. 2 West Florida
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Trey Williamon had three hits and Taylor Bratton won for the third time in his past four outings as the Tigers defeated No. 2 West Florida 6-2 in Gulf South Conference baseball action Friday at Jim Spooner Field.
The win was the fifth in a row for West Alabama, which improved to 27-11 overall and 15-8 in GSC play. UWA snapped a 10-game West Florida winning streak as the Argonauts dropped to 29-6 overall, 20-4 in the conference.
"I thought Taylor Bratton probably pitched his best game of the year tonight," UWA head coach Gary Rundles said. "He commanded both sides of the plate and his off speed stuff was great."
Bratton (4-3) worked seven innings, allowing two runs and eight hits. He struck out eight without walking a batter. Brock Ward and Tanner Rainey worked scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to close the game out. West Florida starter Dawson Brown (5-3) was tagged with the loss.
"I just decided to enjoy the last few games of my college career, have some fun with my teammates and let the results take care of themselves," said Bratton, who hasn't lost since March 1. "Early on I was able to get them to swing at the curveball. Later in the game I just tried to keep it down and let them get themselves out."
West Alabama struck first when Mitch Holgate tripled with one out in the third inning, his fourth triple of the year and the fourth in the last five games. Tyler Richburg's sacrifice fly to right field chased him to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
West Florida tied the game in the bottom half of the third. Sean Plunkett singled to open the frame and scored on Chase Kiefer's second double in as many at bats. The Argonauts took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, taking advantage of a pair of infield singles, a sacrifice bunt and stolen base. UWF would not score again.
Richburg gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning with a bases-loaded double to drive in Daniel Bolte and Jocobby Robinson, who had both singled.
Holgate increased the West Alabama lead with a massive solo home run over the left field wall to open the seventh inning. The blast was the sophomore designated hitter's eight of the year and the second in as many games.
"We were aggressive, but smart and selective, at the plate," Rundles said. "They key to our success all season has been when the bottom of the order gets on base and the top drives them in. Tyler Richburg's three RBIs were huge, as was Holgate's home run."
In the past two games, Holgate is 6-for-8 at the plate with two homers, two triples, a double, five RBI, six runs scored and a stolen base.
UWA used a single and a pair of West Florida errors to plate two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Rainey and Adam Chamblee drove in the runs on a fielder's choice and a single, respectively.