FERRUM — Roanoke College’s Robbie Edwards belted a two-run home run off of Ferrum College freshman reliever Will Davis Tuesday as the Maroons rallied for a 7-6 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) baseball victory over the Panthers at W.B. Adams Field.
The Maroons retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth on two fly outs and a strikeout to secure the victory.
“Our guys played with a lot of energy and intensity. I’m really proud of our team,’’ Ferrum skipper Ryan Brittle said. “Credit Roanoke, they got some big hits at key moments.’’
Edwards belted three home runs in four plate appearances and drove in five runs. His first two round-trippers came at the expense of Ferrum starter Joey Pride: a two-run blast in the first inning and a solo shot in the seventh that pulled the Maroons to within a run.
Roanoke, which is two years removed from winning the conference and South Region championships and placing fourth in the NCAA Division III College World Series maintains its hold on second place in the league standing with the win, its second this season over Ferrum.
Both the Maroons (14-6 in the ODAC, 17-16 overall) and the Panthers have two league regular-season games remaining.
The Panthers (11-9 in the ODAC, 20-16 overall) are in a tailspin in league play. After winning eight of their first 10 conference games, they are 3-7 in their last 10 with three straight losses.
Ferrum is battling with Virginia Wesleyan University, Hampden-Sydney College, reigning league champion Shenandoah University and the University of Lynchburg to finish in the top four of the conference standings.
The top four teams play at home in the first weekend of this year’s postseason conference tournament.
Also, Eastern Mennonite University, Washington and Lee University, Guilford (North Carolina) College and Bridgewater College are making late pushes in pursuit of postseason berths.
The top eight teams qualify for the tournament.
Roanoke, which is steered by former Ferrum assistant Matt McGuire, led 4-0 after 3 1/2 frames, but lost the advantage when the Panthers manufactured five runs in the last of the fourth.
Ferrum made the count 6-4 by tallying a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Roanoke responded with a run in the top of the seventh to cut the deficit to one and to set the stage for the ninth inning drama.
The Panthers outhit the Maroons, 12-8, and each team committed one error.
Ferrum belted six extra base hits to Roanoke’s five.
Matt Yarbrough’s two-run home run and Brandon Roberts’ solo shot accounted for three of the Panthers’ five fourth-inning runs, while Nathaniel Anthony smacked two doubles, while Jack Martin hit double and Grey Sherfey hit a triple.
Besides Edwards’ three home runs, Will Smith and Jack Howard each hit a double.
Sherfey paced Ferrum by going 3 of 4 at the plate, while Roberts was 2 of 4 with two runs and an RBI and Anthony was 2 of 5.
Roanoke employed five pitchers.
Ethan Delahunty (1-2), the fourth pitcher of the quintet, earned his first victory of the season — he worked 1/3 of an inning.
Kevin Ledford claimed his fifth save of the season by tossing a perfect ninth.
Besides, Davis and Pride, senior lefthander Noah Collins worked a perfect eighth inning for the Panthers.
Davis (2-3), who faced seven batters, surrendered two hits, a walk and two earned runs, while striking out one.
Pride, who faced 28 batters, yielded six hits and five runs, all of which were earned. He struck out two.
Ferrum was making its final regular-season appearance at Adams Field.
The Panthers are 14-8 on their home diamond and 6-8 away from it.
Ferrum is 2-6 in one-run games this season with half of those setbacks coming in conference play.
Ferrum returns to action Saturday at Hampden-Sydney College. The opening game of a scheduled doubleheader is 3 p.m.