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No. 11 baseball opens with doubleheader set at USC-Lancaster

February 12, 2016

LANCASTER, S.C. — First-year Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) baseball coach Frank Jagoda isn’t shying away from the competition this spring. Not even from the outset.

The No. 11 ranked NJCAA, Division II Patriots open the season Friday (Feb. 12) at Region X, Division I USC-Lancaster with a pair of doubleheaders. The Lancers opened the season with doubleheader sweeps Feb. 6-7 against Catawba Valley Community College.

USC-Lancaster won the Region X, Division I title last season, defeating USC Sumter in the championship 10-6, the only time it surrendered runs in its four tournament games. The Lancers then lost their first two games of the national tournament. In the four-game season opening sweep of the Red Hawks — ranked 3rd in Division II and the defending Region X champs — Lancaster won two games by a run, erased an eight-run deficit in another and slugged five home runs with a .320 average.

The Lancers are 19-7 over their last 26 home games.

“USC-Lancaster is a tough matchup to start the year,” Jagoda said. “They are going to play an aggressive style of baseball, not only offensively but on the mound, as well. They are going to come at us aggressively early and often.”

Both teams feature deep pitching staffs as the starting pitching and bullpens should be taxed by the end of the series Saturday afternoon. The Patriots will toss their top two guns, Jack Maynard and Yashuan Santiago in Friday’s twin-bill before going to Parker Brann and Anthony Zona in the back end of the four-game set.

Santiago tossed a complete game, eight-inning shutout against the Lancers last Feb. 21 in a 1-0 tournament win at Florence-Darlington. He allowed just three hits and enters the series on the heels of a nine-win 2015 with a 1.82 ERA and 67 strikeouts over 64.1 innings. Maynard went 9-3 and posted a 1.36 ERA over a team-high 86.1 innings with 72 strikeouts to just 15 walks.

USC-Lancaster has a strong freshman pitcher in Kipp Rollings but he was roughed up in his debut by the Red Hawks, allowing five earned runs and four walks in 2.2 innings of work. Sophomore Daniel Willcutt is probably the Lancers’ most experienced pitcher and downed CVCC by tossing 5.1 innings of shutout ball with seven strikeouts and three walks.

The Lancer offensive proved that it can handle quality pitching, averaging over eight runs per game against one of the best staffs in Region X. They had 12 of their 33 hits go for extra bases in the series opener. Freshman Walt Ballentine went 6-for-14, hit a pair of homers, scored seven runs and stole four bases in the four games vs. CVCC. Freshman Evan Edwards also went deep twice and drove in eight in the season-opening sweep. Lancaster, however, did strikeout 29 times over 103 at bats which could play to the advantage of the Patriots’ starting pitchers.

PHCC will open its home schedule at Hooker Field next weekend (Feb. 20-21) when it takes on fellow Region X, Division I foe Louisburg College for another pair of doubleheaders.

 

 

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