The Braves came into the series against Augusta undefeated, sitting at a 6-0 record after sweeping Shepherd and Indiana to start the season. That undefeated streak came to an end in this series, but UNCP still managed to win the two other games and came out of the series 2-1.
In what was their first PBC action of the year, the Black and Gold were tested for the first time all season. The first game of the series on Feb. 16 was an absolute offensive showcase. Thirty-four total runs were scored between the two teams.
The Braves would go on to lose their first game of the season in the showdown by a score of 16-18. In a game that took over four hours, pitching was obviously not a strong point in this one for either side. Augusta trotted out eight different pitchers, while Pembroke had four. Ace Pitcher Anthony Burke showed his first sign of vulnerability this season, giving up eight runs (five earned) through only 4.1 innings.
Thomas Durant came in relief to try and stop the bleeding, but he got absolutely rocked for the second time this season. Durant gave up four runs in his only inning of work and brought his ERA up to a whopping 40.50. Luckily for the Braves, Augusta was having just as much problem with their pitching and it helped keep the game close.
Third baseman Trey Jacobs lead the offensive charge going a perfect 5-5 at the plate with three RBIs and three runs scored. UNCP was up 16-15 heading into the top of the ninth. They would end up giving up three runs in the half inning to make the score 16-18 in favor of Augusta, giving the Black and Gold their first loss of the season.
The second game on Feb. 17 was more favorable for Pembroke. Coming off the loss, the Braves were looking to get back on track and they did just that. They scored two runs in four straight innings to get up to an 8-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Ethan Baucom showed some more of his power for the offense.
The cleanup man is swatting them out at a high clip this year and is one of the Braves’ most reliable power bats in the lineup. Reliever Cole Lovin continued his dominant stretch to start the campaign on the mound.
He allowed zero hits through 5.1 innings and was once again missing bats as he tallied seven strikeouts. The final game of the first PBC series on Feb. 18 for the Braves did not disappoint.
The top of the order got the job done with leadoff man Roberto Rivera going 2-5 with two RBIs and two-hole hitter Trevor Clemens hitting 2-3 with a walk and a solo shot in the first inning.
The game was tied up heading into the bottom of the ninth after UNCP allowed a homer in the top of the frame to make the score 8-8. Kevon Perkins got his only hit of the night, but it was the most important. He drove in Luke Jackson on a sacrifice fly to earn the walk off victory and put the Braves at an 8-1 record.