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No. 11 baseball takes 1 of 2 vs. Louisburg College

February 21, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Through six games and three doubleheaders, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) first-year baseball coach Frank Jagoda said his team hasn’t been ‘locked’ in from start to finish.

With seven twin bills on the schedule to start the season, the Patriots better learn quickly how to play more complete doubleheaders. PHCC backed a seven inning complete-game, three-hit shutout by sophomore Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va.) in Game 1 Saturday (Feb. 20) against Louisburg College with a 5-3 setback in Game 2.

The unique home-and-home, four-game series over two doubleheaders, opened at Hooker Field in Martinsville and will conclude Sunday (Feb. 21) at Frazier Field in Louisburg, N.C.

“It’s a matter of understanding that there are two ballgames. I think a lot of kids, not just here but all over the place, get complacent with their day so far,” Jagoda said. “Their day isn’t over. There’s still three or four more at bats, there’s seven or eight more innings of defense, and I think that’s been the difference in our doubleheaders so far. We haven’t been able to lock in from first pitch to last pitch.”

Maynard was dazzling in the opener and showed why he’s transferring to UNC-Greensboro next season. He struck out a career-high 14 with no walks over 108 pitches. The Patriots’ No. 1 starter rebounded nicely from an 11-hit, four-inning performance in last week’s season opener against USC-Lancaster in which he gave up seven runs despite striking out nine.

Jagoda said Maynard gave the team an outstanding start which helped save arms in the bullpen for the set of games in North Carolina.

“(Catcher) Ryan (Coale) and I were able to get into a rhythm and the defense played well. Once you get into a rhythm it’s much easier to pitch,” said Maynard, who had 77 pitches for strikes. “The biggest difference from my last start was I got ahead of hitters more and was able to use all my pitches.”

Freshman Brandon Nania (Murrysville, Pa.) provided the only offensive support needed with a two-run home run to right field, highlighting a four-run inning for the Patriots. Nania added a two-hit game in Game 2 to raise his average to .368 while his homer was the first of the season.

“It makes you lock in so much harder,” Maynard said of the run support. “Your guys are working hard to take the lead and then it’s my time to keep the lead. That was my mentality; that (home run) gave me the lead, now I have to keep it.”

Game 2 featured a more back-and-forth affair. Louisburg took an early 1-0 lead after the first before PHCC tied the game in the third and took its only lead in the fourth. A two-run fifth gave the lead right back to the Hurricanes only to have it answered with a run by the Patriots in the home half for a 3-3 tie.

Sophomore Yashuan Santiago (Puerto Rico) pitched his way into the sixth inning before exiting with two outs. A balk and passed ball in his final inning provided the winning runs without a hit. Santiago struck out seven and walked three while scattering six hits. Miguel Lopez (Coral Springs, Fla.) struck out three and allowed one hit in his 1 1/3 innings of relief.

The offense managed one more hit in Game 2 (8) than it did in the opener. Jagoda said the team’s overall approach at the plate was good but that several hard hit balls couldn’t seem to find a soft spot in the Louisburg defense in the second game. Beyond that, however, it’s the two-strike approach late in doubleheaders where Jagoda wants to see better results.

“I think in Game 2 our two-strike approach fell to the wayside a little bit,” Jagoda said. “We took some borderline pitches with two strikes and you can’t take (the pitch) and leave it in the umpire’s hands. You have to battle there and for the most part we’ve done that so far.”

Middle infielders Jonah McReynolds (Martinsville, Va.) and Rashad Stewart (Dinwiddie, Va.) added multi-hit games in Games 1 and 2, respectively. McReynolds leads the team with nine hits and his .474 batting average tops the team for those with at least 10 at bats.

Freshman Parker Brann (Leasburg, N.C.) will get the start in Sunday’s Game 1 followed by sophomore Anthony Zona (Mechanicsville, Va.). Jagoda said he expect both pitchers to provide quality innings and that bullpen help is ready when needed.

PHCC returns home for a doubleheader against NCAA, Division III Ferrum College on Feb. 24.

 

 

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