LYNCHBURG – The Motlow Bucks continued their torrid start to the baseball season when they hosted and swept Volunteer State over the weekend. Motlow won Friday’s series opener 11-4, Saturday’s first game 10-7 and the series nightcap 6-5 in nine innings at the Driver Baseball Complex.
The Bucks (13-4, 3-0) now sit at the top of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) standings after one weekend of conference play. Motlow will host non-conference opponent Wallace State on Tuesday, Feb. 25 for a noon doubleheader. The Bucks step back into conference play this weekend when Walters State visits for a three-game series. The Senators were ranked 12th in the preseason national poll.
Friday’s opener saw the visiting Pioneers jump out to a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third inning. Motlow scored single runs in the first, second and third innings, then put the game away with four runs in the fifth and four more in the eighth inning.
Josh Hopkins got the win for Motlow, allowing four earned runs with five strikeouts in six innings of work. Nathan Hammer picked up his third save by pitching three innings of shutout relief. Ben Holland went 3-4 with a home run and drove in three runs, Logan Conley had three hits and Clayton Palicki drove in two runs.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a slugfest with the two teams combining for five home runs, including one by Palicki. Hayden Bailey picked up the win on the mound in relief of starter Elliott Bush. Hammer pitched the final inning for his fourth save.
Palicki continued his hot hitting with a pair of hits and three runs batted in. Conley also drove in three runs and slammed a double and a triple. Former Buck player Chevis Hoover started on the mound and took the loss for the Pioneers.
Saturday’s second game was the most suspenseful game of the series. Motlow scored two runs in the first and second innings for a 4-0 lead, but the Pioneers stormed back with five in the third inning. However, the home team tied the score with a run in the fifth inning and won it in the bottom of the ninth when Chris Adams doubled, advanced to third on Conley’s bunt single, and scored the winning run on an error by the Volunteer State third baseman.
Palicki started game three on the mound but left in the third and was charged with all five runs, although only two were earned. Zach Westberry pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief and Matt Sharp picked up the win by allowing only one hit while pitching the final four innings
Adams had three hits, including a home run, and drove in two, while Luke Toms also hit a home run and drove in a pair of runs.