VINTON – The home opener for the Roanoke College baseball team was scheduled for this week, as the Maroons were set to host Ferrum College on Wednesday at Salem’s Kiwanis Field.
This year’s RC team will be intereting to watch for fans of William Byrd baseball, as five former Terriers are on the roster. At times the Maroon infield could have three former Byrd players manning positions.
Returning to the team are senior infielder Ben Amos and sophomores Jacob Clifton and Jacob McMillan. Clifton is listed as a utility player but he’s primarily at third, while McMillan pitches and plays the outfield.
New to the program are sophomore Bradley Mattox, who transferred to RC from Tusculum during the off-season, and freshman Chad Hill. Mattox is an infielder and Hill is listed as an outfielder and secondbaseman, but he can also pitch.
Roanoke opened the 2012 season on the road last weekend against a tough Methodist University squad, getting swept in a three game series in Fayetteville, NC. The Maroons lost a doubleheader on Saturday, 11-0 and 4-2 while nearly pulling off a victory in Sunday’s contest, 5-4.
Clifton led the Maroons offensively for the weekend, going 5-of-11 (.455) with two RBI. Mark Manthe collected four hits, including a home run and three RBI. Ben Amos had three hits, including a double with one RBI and two runs scored.
After scoring two runs in each of the first two innings of game one, the Monarch offense exploded in the fifth inning, scoring five runs as 10 hitters entered the batter’s box in the inning.
In the second game of the doubleheader the Maroons made it interesting late in the seven-inning contest with two runs in the sixth as Clifton drove in two runs, but Methodist held on for the win. McMillan(0-1) went three innings on the mound, giving up three runs and walking four Monarchs with one strikeout on the day. Tyler Grouten, a 2011 All-ODAC selection, went two innings in middle relief with one strikeout in his first game back after recovering from a knee injury in the off-season.
Methodist led 5-0 after four innings and held off a late rally from Roanoke to win 5-4 and complete the three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon. Roanoke enjoyed a big fifth inning, which included a three-run homer by Manthe to highlight the rally, his first of the year. The Maroons strung together three hits and capitalized on a Methodist error to cut the lead to one, but Methodist’s Rett Lee entered in relief to end the threat. Both teams had just one hit apiece through the remaining three innings as the Monarchs held on for the 5-4 win.
Mark Wimmer (0-1) took the loss for Roanoke, going 3.2 innings with three strikeouts. Zack Folger went 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball in relief, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out one.
After playing Ferrum on Wednesday the Maroons will have a doubleheader in Bristol Saturday against Virginia Intermont, beginning at 1 pm.