Barons' Hooks shuts out Hornets to begin sweep

Brewton-Parker College sophomore right-hander Ashley Hooks won a hotly contested pitching battle in the first game of the Barons' doubleheader sweep Thursday over Southern Polytechnic State University at the Brewton-Parker field.

Hooks outdueled Southern Poly left-hander Jeramie Brown for a 2-0 victory by limiting Brown's Hornet teammates to just three hits in the opener and catching a two-run break in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Barons, shut out by Brown and the Hornets on March 14, then completed the sweep of the weather-postponed twin bill and won the extended Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference series with a 6-4 victory.

Hooks (3-2) struck out seven and walked three en route to his complete-game shutout. Brown also allowed just three Baron hits with four strikeouts, but the second of his two walks proved costly and opened the door for Brewton-Parker in the sixth inning.

After sophomore Jonathan Davis drew a walk on four Brown pitches to open the inning, he advanced on junior Jason Halstead's sacrifice bunt that sophomore Rex Harrison followed with a single.

Sophomore Johnny King reached on a left-field error to load the bases, and senior Ricky Nelson's fielder's choice, a play that included a throwing error from second to first base, allowed Davis and Harrison to score the game's only runs.

"The bad part of a game like that is who makes the first mistake usually loses," Barons coach Chad Parker said. "Ashley kept his composure with people in scoring position. Their guy didn't deserve to lose, but he walked the leadoff hitter and they made two errors."

In the second game, Brewton-Parker (24-13 overall, 12-9 GACC) posted three-run rallies in the second and fifth innings, each of which answered a one-run rally the previous inning.

Sophomore Chris Brown led off the second-inning rally with a double and scored on senior Travis Long's single. After Davis' fielder's choice, freshman Justin Dover and Halstead each singled to set up Nelson's two-run single for a 3-1 Barons lead.

In the fifth, Nelson drew a leadoff walk and senior Denson Gleaton walked with one out before freshman Madison Herrin singled home Nelson. Davis reached on an error, on which Gleaton and Harrison, a courtesy runner for Herrin, both scored to give Brewton-Parker a 6-2 lead. Southern Poly (16-23, 10-14 after the sweep) added a two-run home run in the sixth to pull within two.

Halstead was 2-for-3 in the game with one run.

Sophomore right-hander Andrew Gernatt (6-2) scattered nine hits and four earned runs with no walks or strikeouts over six innings, and junior right-hander Brent Kennedy got his second save with one inning in which he allowed two hits but struck out two without a walk.

"This was a huge win that gave us the tiebreaker after they beat us in the first game (of the series)," Parker said. "That will seed us fourth or fifth and them seventh in the opposite bracket."

The doubleheader also marked the final home appearance for Gleaton, Long, Nelson and Chris Coker, along with student assistant coach Derek James. The seniors were honored before the twin bill.

Brewton-Parker finishes its regular-season schedule with a series at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, beginning with a single game Friday at 3 p.m. and a doubleheader Saturday starting at 1 p.m.

The Barons will begin play in the GACC postseason tournament on Wednesday at Albany State University.

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Brewton-Parker College sophomore right-hander Ashley Hooks (center, front) gets high-fives from teammates after he completed a 2-0, three-hit shutout victory Wednesday over Southern Polytechnic State University in the first game of a Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference doubleheader at the Brewton-Parker field in Mount Vernon.
 

Brewton-Parker College sophomore right-hander Ashley Hooks fires a pitch on his way to completing a 2-0, three-hit shutout victory Wednesday over Southern Polytechnic State University in the first game of a Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference doubleheader at the Brewton-Parker field in Mount Vernon. (Photo by Charles Conkin)