MONTGOMERY, Ala. - After four scoreless innings, top-seeded Faulkner (48-10) claimed a 2-0 lead on a well-placed T.J. Condon double in the fifth inning and never looked back en route to a 6-1 victory over fifth-seeded Truett McConnell in Game 3 of the Montgomery Bracket here Monday evening and into the early minutes of Tuesday morning.
The Eagles worked themselves into a bases-loaded situation in the third inning, but starting Bears pitcher Gregory Elder kept his cool and retired the side with a critical strikeout before any damage could be done.
Faulkner then found itself in a sticky situation in the bottom of the same inning when Truett McConnell moved a runner to third with two outs to give.
Left fielder Reid Long single-handedly put the threat to bed, however, when he turned a brilliant double play from the turf. The junior reeled in a leaping snag on the third base line before firing the ball 200 feet to home out of a barrel roll catching the runner 20 feet from the plate.
The Eagles finally broke the scoring silence on Condon's double and added three more runs on two infield errors and a wild pitch in the sixth.
Faulkner's final run was also the result of an infield error.
Calob Rowland's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth accounted for Truett McConnell's lone score.
Israel Fuentes (11-0) surrendered a lone earned run on seven hits he scattered over seven innings while striking out seven batters in the win.
Elder broke the Truett McConnell single-season strikeout recored in tonight's game. The sophomore fanned eight batters over six innings moving his year total to 117, seven more than the previous record set in 2012. Elder allowed three earned runs on as many hits in tonight's loss.
Chris Garden and Evan Bensch were both 2-for-4 for the Bears.
Faulkner advances to take on Huntingdon (Ind.) in the winners bracket tomorrow afternoon at 3:30.
Truett McConnell will look to keep its season alive tomorrow night at 7:30 against the winner of the Cumberland-St. Thomas matchup set for 11:30 a.m.