No. 14 Senators settle for a win and loss
Walters State third baseman (29) Austin Taylor winds to throw a runner out at first base against Cleveland State on Saturday morning at Senator Park.
Through 11 innings of Saturday’s doubleheader against Cleveland State, the Walters State Senators had just two hits. Luckily for the home team, the bats woke up in a big way in the final two innings to salvage a split at Senator Field.
The Senators had just two hits in the opening game and fell 6-4 to the visiting Cougars before rallying late in the second game for four runs in the final two innings to claim a 5-4 victory.
With the split, Walters State moves to 36-11 on the year and 19-5 in TCCAA play after winning the series with the Cougars.
Cleveland State is now 24-19 overall and 11-13 in league action.
“We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win today,” WSCC coach David Shelton said. “We didn’t play our best, but we found a way to win the second game. It’s a good thing we scored the four runs we did (in the last two innings) because we needed everything we could get.”
The Cougars never trailed in the opening game, and the Senators only temporarily tied the game after one inning. Cleveland State plated two runs in the first, two more in the second, a single run in the third and another in the sixth to give starting pitcher Jake Wright plenty of support.
The Senators pushed across two runs in the first on a two-run double by Austin Norrell and Michael Smith singled in the third and scored on a throwing error on a stolen base attempt t make it 5-3. James Fowlkes walked and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Martin for the final run of the game.
Wright allowed just two hits and four runs – three earned – in a complete game effort to get the win over Andrew Gist, who surrendered five runs in four-plus innings of work.
Campbell Scholl allowed one earned run in three innings of relief for the Senators.
In the nightcap, Walters State struck first in the bottom half of the opening frame. Dathan Prewett led off the inning by being hit by a pitch, and after a walk by Smith, Jake Farr bunted both runners into scoring position. Fowlkes followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Prewett, giving the Senators a 1-0 lead.
Cleveland State answered back in the second inning when Keith Buckhault doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch by WSCC starting pitcher Aaron Quillen and scored on a grounder by Wright Hackett to knot the score at 1.
The score remained tied into the fifth inning when the Senators took control of the game. Austin Taylor ripped a leadoff single for the first hit of the game for the home team, and he scored on an RBI double by Brycen Roberts to put WSCC on top. Reed Hayes added an RBI single, and Farr knocked in a run with a grounder to make it 4-1.
Austin Norrell led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer, building the margin to 5-1, but Cleveland State battled back in the seventh.
The Cougars scored a pair of runs on a throwing error and another on a grounder by Chris Caffrey to slice the lead to 5-4, and they had the tying run on first when Andrew Towns came on in relief. Towns struck out pinch hitter Chase Shaw to end the game and win the series.
Quillen picked up the win after allowing four runs – one earned – on three hits in 6.2 innings. Towns notched the save by recording the final out.
Josh Morgan was the losing pitcher for the Cougars.
The Senators are scheduled to be back in action Tuesday to host fourth ranked Spartanburg Methodist for a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
WSCC 10, Cleveland State 6
The Senators played with a sense of urgency in the series opener with visiting Cleveland State Friday afternoon, scoring in each of the first six innings and holding on for a 10-6 victory at Senator Field.
WSCC attacked Cleveland State starting pitcher Bobby Towne from the start. Michael Smith reached on a fielder’s choice in the first inning and moved to third on a single by Jake Farr. A James Fowlkes walk loaded the bases, and Austin Norrell and Ross Grosvenor followed with BRI singles to make it 2-0.
The lead grew in the second inning. Reed Hayes led off the frame with a double to left-center, and Dathan Prewett reached on a bunt single. Prewett stole second, and a throwing error on the play allowed him to move to third and also scored Hayes. Smith and Norrell both had RBI doubles to up the lead to 5-0.
The Cougars got three runs back in the top of the third, as they plated a pair of runs on fielder’s choice grounders and another run scored on an error to make it 5-3.
Walters State wasted little time getting the runs back, as Brycen Roberts tattooed a two-run homer deep over the wall in centerfield in the third inning, and Fowlkes hammered a solo homer in the fourth to build the lead to 8-3.
The Senators added to the margin again in the bottom of the fifth. Roberts led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Hayes and scored on a sacrifice fly by Prewett. Farr singled and scored in the sixth on an RBI hit by Austin Taylor to make it 10-3.
Cleveland State battled back to plated two runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Wright Hackett and an RBI sacrifice bunt by Janson Roberson, and they plated an unearned run in the ninth to close out the scoring.
Norrell led the Senators with three hits and two RBIs, while Prewett, Farr and Roberts had two hits each in the win. Prewett also stole two bases, giving him 40 swipes for the season.
Hackett, Jared Davis and Jammer Strickland each had two hits in the defeat.
Brent Honeywell (9-2) picked up the win after allowing three runs – two earned – on six hits with five strikeouts in five innings. Brett Martin tossed a pair of scoreless innings, while Colton Provey allowed two earned runs on three hits in an inning of work before Matt Pope allowed an unearned run in the ninth.
Towne took the loss after surrendering nine earned runs on 11 hits in five innings of work.
Wingate 5, C-N 3
Both starting pitchers hurled complete games as the Bulldogs topped the Eagles 5-3 Friday afternoon.
Eagle starter Dustin Dunagan retired the first two batters of the first inning before allowing a single to centerfielder Thomas Spitz. With Spitz on the move, catcher Josh Clark just missed a home run to left center field and settled for a double to bring home Spitz and put the visiting team on top 1-0.
Carson-Newman responded in the bottom of the third inning. Junior centerfielder Evan Kirkpatrick laced a double down the right field line. With one out, senior second basemen Peter Rajkovich bounced a ball over the third basemen’s head. Sophomore third basemen Brandon Roberts drove home both runners with a single back up the middle putting the Eagles on top 2-1.
Dunagan had retired six straight batters until a string of five consecutive hits gave Wingate a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning.
With two men on base, right fielder Eric Serra clubbed his fifth long ball of the season well over the right field fence. After Spitz singled, Clark delivered his second RBI double of the game to cap a four-run fifth inning.
The Eagles were able to get a run back in the bottom of the fifth frame. With two outs, Rajkovich singled and advanced to second base on a fielding error by leftfielder Justin Somers. Roberts tallied his third hit of the day with a solid single back up the middle to plate Rajkovich and make it a 5-3 deficit.
Roberts notched his fourth three-hit game of the season by going 3-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in. Rajkovich collected his tenth multi-hit game of the season as he went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Dunagan fired his second nine-inning complete game of the season allowing five earned runs on ten hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts. The senior threw 140 pitches and lost for the fourth straight start falling to 2-6 on the season.
Wingate starting pitcher Olen Little went the distance to earn his eighth victory of the season. Little allowed three earned runs on ten hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
-By Matt Daniels, Tribune Sports Editor