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Bucks slam 10 home runs in 'Launchburg', win series over Cleveland State

March 12, 2018

The Motlow Bucks launched 10 home runs, turning their home field in Lynchburg into 'Launchburg', and got a complete-game pitching performance from Huntland's Kobe Foster as the Bucks won two out of three games from visiting TCCAA opponent Cleveland State over the weekend at the Driver Baseball Complex.

The Bucks (15-10, 3-3) pulled themselves into a fifth-place tie in the TCCAA standings with the series win. Motlow will step outside the conference and host Northeast Mississippi in a noon doubleheader Tuesday. Conference play resumes this weekend when Motlow travels to Harriman to face Roane State.

The visiting Cougars jumped out to a 10-0 lead in Friday's first game before Motlow battled back but lost 11-9. Foster (4-0) was magnificent on the mound in game two, scattering five hits and striking out seven in Motlow's 10-3 win. Saturday's nine-inning finale saw the Bucks slam five home runs and win 13-10.

Motlow continues to lead the nation in home runs, raising its season team total to 46. The Bucks have now scored 187 runs in their 25 games, ranking No. 17 in the nation, and have driven in 163 runs, tied for No. 17 in the NJCAA.

The weekend didn't start well for the Bucks against the Cougars, who came into the series unbeaten in conference play. Defensive miscues played a significant role in digging the early hole, with the Bucks committing six errors in the game, but the Bucks refused to fold despite the deficit.

Michael Bruhin got his first start of the season and lasted four innings, allowing five earned runs and eight hits with three strikeouts. Chandler Hardiman replaced Bruhin in the fifth inning and shut the Cougars down the rest of the way, allowing just one hit with one strikeout.

The Bucks chipped away at the lead, notching five runs in the bottom of the seventh before falling short of completing the comeback. De'Andre Pitts had two solo home runs, while Colin Smith and Jake Chaney also homered. Pitts had three hits and three RBI, while Patrick Music and Troy Weatherly each had two hits.

Foster, who had been used as Motlow's closer early in the year and had garnered three saves and three wins, got his first start and, despite giving up three runs in the second inning, never lost focus while waiting for his offense to come alive. It did, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the Cougars away.

The Bucks got help, with Cleveland's defense committing four errors and its pitchers walking four Bucks, while Motlow only managed four hits in the game. Paul McIntosh hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning, and Pitts had two hits including a double.

Saturday's series finale started with a bang for the Bucks as McIntosh and Weatherly hit solo home runs in the bottom of the first inning to stake starter Logan Walters with a 2-0 lead. Weatherly leads the nation with 12 home runs, while McIntosh is fourth with 10.

Walters allowed only five hits but walked seven batters in his 6.2 innings pitched. Tyler Harmon relieved him in the seventh, and the Cougars fought their way back to tie the score 7-7. But the Bucks were far from finished as Chaney hit a solo homer, Paul Rahman slammed a two-run shot, and Pitts hit a two-run double to put a six spot on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh. The Cougars didn't fold, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth before Justin Parker came in to get the final two outs and seal the series win for the home team.

Kobe Foster
Motlow freshman Kobe Foster delivers a pitch during the Bucks 10-3 win over TCCAA rival Cleveland State Friday afternoon at the Driver Baseball Complex. Foster, from Huntland, is now 4-0 on the year with three saves, both near the top of the TCCAA leaderboard. Foster has recorded 36 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched and sports a 2.63 earned run average. Jeff Reed Photography.