NORFOLK, Va. – John Macon Smith's three-run homer keyed a six-run eighth inning in Guilford College's 9-7 win at Virginia Wesleyan College Saturday. The sophomore's NCAA Division III-leading ninth blast of the year fueled the Quakers' (16-13, 5-3 ODAC) first doubleheader sweep of their Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) rivals in school history.
Guilford took advantage of three Virginia Wesleyan (5-16, 1-7 ODAC) errors in a five-run ninth inning to win the opener, 9-4. The Marlins grabbed a 4-0 lead after two innings, but the Quakers chipped their way back and tied the game on Casey Mann's eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Justin Pittman plated the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the ninth, his second run-scoring hit of the game.
Josh Miller went two-for-three and hit a two-run single in the second that opened a 4-0 Virginia Wesleyan lead. Anthony Siracusa (0-5), the last of five Marlins' pitchers, took the loss.
The Quakers jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead in the nightcap, but the Marlins tied the game at 3-3 with two fourth-inning runs. They went ahead with an unearned run in the seventh on Miller's RBI single.
Guilford's first seven batters of the eighth inning reached base safely, including Smith, who greeted reliever Reid Hoffler with a three-run home run to right to open a 9-4 lead. Mann's fielder's choice in the inning scored pinch-runner Herc Ingels with the go-ahead run.
Virginia Wesleyan closed the margin to 9-7 with three runs in the bottom of the ninth, two off a single by Matt Ittner.
Guilford's Borja Jones-Berasaluce (3-1) picked up the win with seven solid innings. He struck out four and walked only one. D.J. Phillips paced the offense with four hits. Smith and Ben Esser both added three hits.
Siracusa and Alex Lambert both had three hits for Virginia Wesleyan.
Guilford visits Roanoke College Tuesday (4/3) night for a 7:00 p.m. ODAC game.