Motlow Bucks sweep opening conference baseball series on the road

Motlow State redshirt freshman Stephen Cullen waits for the pitch during Motlow’s recent home game against Martin Methodist JV. Cullen, a transfer from Georgia State, is hitting .333 on the season with four home runs and 17 RBI.

Motlow State redshirt freshman Stephen Cullen waits for the pitch during Motlow’s recent home game against Martin Methodist JV. Cullen, a transfer from Georgia State, is hitting .333 on the season with four home runs and 17 RBI.

The Motlow Bucks opened the 2019 TCCAA conference portion of their baseball schedule in grand fashion over the weekend, traveling to Millington and sweeping Southwest Tennessee in a three-game series 11-8, 3-0 and 4-3.

The Bucks (3-0, 10-4) have now won six games in a row, with the sweep over the Saluqis coming on the heels of an 8-3, 7-3 sweep over the Martin Methodist JV team in the home opener last Monday. Motlow was scheduled to host Schoolcraft on Mar. 4, and will host Chattanooga State this coming weekend, with a single game scheduled for Friday at 2pm and a doubleheader set for Saturday at noon.

Game one against Southwest started as a slugfest, with Motlow holding a 9-8 lead after three innings. The Bucks then brought in freshman Coleman Fleming in relief of starter Dalton Wilder, and Fleming shut down the Saluqis and got the win, allowing just three hits with six strikeouts over the next five innings. Dallas Bryan tossed a perfect ninth to pick up his third save of the season.

Stephen Cullen continued his strong early-season production at the plate, driving home three runs with two hits as part of the Bucks’ eight-hit attack. Patrick Music, Sam Stohr, Cade Giles and Gunnar Ricketts also drove in runs for Motlow. Cullen is hitting .333 on the season with four home runs and 17 RBI. Stohr leads the Bucks with five homers and a .378 average and has also driven in 17 runs.

Saturday’s first game featured a masterful pitching performance by Kobe Foster (3-0), as he tossed a complete-game shutout with 12 strikeouts. Foster has allowed only three earned runs in 22 innings pitched and has recorded 34 strikeouts with only three walks allowed.

Ricketts and Dalton Hill each had three hits for the Bucks with Music adding two, including a double. Ricketts, Cullen and Hill drove in runs for Motlow.

Game two Saturday saw the Bucks come from behind after being down 3-1 heading into the sixth inning, when Motlow scored two before plating the winning run in the top of the eighth. Dathan Sanders drove in a pair of runs with a double and Cade Giles and Nathan Sanders each had an RBI.

Logan Walters started on the mound for Motlow, pitching five innings and allowing just two earned runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts. Chase Dixon relieved Walters and picked up his second win of the season, pitching two shutout innings and allowing two hits. Bryan pitched the final inning and recorded his fourth save of the young season, striking out two of the three batters he faced.