MILLINGTON, Tenn. — The seventh ranked Walters State Senators split a road twinbill Saturday at USA Stadium against Tennessee Community College Athletic Association rival Southwest Tennessee, but they won the series 2-1 to remain atop the league standings.
In the opening game, the Senators committed three errors and never got over the hump after giving up five runs in the second inning in dropping a 6-5 decision to the Saluqis. The nightcap went to Walters State, as they rallied from an early 2-0 hole to win 5-2 behind a strong outing from Jay Gause on the mound.
With the split, the Senators stand at 18-7 overall and 7-2 in TCCAA action, while Southwest Tennessee is now 13-17 on the year and 4-5 in league play.
In the opening game, Walters State held a 2-0 lead before a five-run second inning for the Saluqis gave them the lead. The Senators eventually tied it in the fifth, but Southwest plated the game winning run in the bottom of the fifth to capture a win.
Walters State got two hits from Matt Harrell, Chris Hipchen and Austin Norrell in the contest, with Harrell belting his first homer of the season and driving in three runs.
Southwest had only six hits in the win, with Gadier Charriez and Anthony Stricklin both recording two hits for the Saluqis. Miguel Coronel picked up the win by going the distance and allowing five runs – four earned – on eight hits while walking six and striking out four in the victory.
Josh Peterson (3-2) took the loss for the Senators after surrendering six run – five earned – on six hits while walking five batters in 4.2 innings. Zach Walton worked 1.1 innings in relief and allowed only one base runner.
Walters State got single runs in the first and second innings, as Elijah Sutherland singled and scored on an error in the first inning and Jake Farr walked, moved to third on a double by Hipchen and scored on a grounder by Harrell to make it 2-0.
The Saluqis used four hits and three Senator errors in the bottom of the second to plate five runs to take a 5-2 lead, but Walters State responded.
The Senators got a two-run homer from Harrell in the fourth and an RBI double from Colin Bennett in the fifth to knot the score at 5 before Southwest scored on a double steal in the bottom of the inning for the winning run.
In the nightcap, Bryan Bussey recorded three hits for the Senators in the win, while Sutherland and Reid Mathews both had two hits in the victory.
Gause (5-1) allowed only two runs – one earned – on four hits while fanning nine batters and walking only one in a complete game outing.
Nathan Van Nortwick had two hits in the loss. Zac Buzzard was the losing pitcher, giving up five runs – four earned – on 10 hits in 5.2 innings.
Gause gave up an RBI single by Sam Seaton and a run scoring ground ball by Van Nortwick in the first inning, but the Saluqis had just two hits in the final six innings.
Walters State cut the deficit in half in the third when Mathews scored on an error, and Sutherland added an RBI single in the fourth to tie it at 2.
The Senators claimed the lead in the fifth. Alex Couch drove in a run with a grounder and Bussey belted an RBI single. In the fifth, Couch added an RBI double for the final run of the game.
The Senators will return to the diamond Tuesday when they travel to South Carolina to take on eighth ranked Spartanburg Methodist in a non-region doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.