All good things must come to an end. Such was the case in the Pirates conference opening series at Central Alabama. Chattahoochee Valley was riding high to start the 2013 season, going 16-0 in the pre-conference schedule, but was swiftly brought back down to earth, as the Trojans from CACC took 2 of the 3 games to kick off the conference season.
Game 1 started great for the Pirates, as Big Ben Taylor was his dominant self through 3 innings of work, while the offense got on the board first in the second and fourth innings to give Taylor a 2-0 lead with which to work.
Ty Abbot reached on a 1 out walk in the 2nd, while Tim Massengale followed him with a single. Both advanced a base on Cam Sperry’s deep fly ball. With 2 out, the Trojan pitcher attempted to pick off Massengale at second base, but instead thew the ball into centerfield, scoring Abbott from third base, to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Nick Jones led of the 4th with a walk, and Abbott singled to put runners at the corners, and Massengale hit the first pitch he saw for a sac fly to push the tally to 2-0.
Unfortunately, defense cost the Pirates in the fourth, when 2 errors cost the Pirates 2 unearned runs and the lead, as CACC scratched for 3 runs in the frame.
Taylor kept his composure and didn’t let the game get away, while the offense rallied to tie the game in the 6th on another Massengale sacrifice fly. However, after 2 quick outs in the bottom of the 6th, Taylor allowed a double and intentional walk to give way to Nick Jones to throw to the left handed hitting Ben Hall of CACC. He made his pitch, but a bad jump and mistimed catch by Cam Sperry in right field allowed 2 runs to score to give Central Alabama a 5-3 lead.
The Trojans added 2 more in the 7th on a 2 run homer by Bo Edwards to give them a 7-3 lead that they would not surrender.
Needing a good start in game 2 to right the ship, Pirate pitcher, Dalton Rentz, gave them just that, tossing 6 innings of 5 hit baseball, allowing only 3 runs on the day.
The only problem was that the offense gave him zero run support, as Rentz left with a 3-0 deficit. However, the Pirates came to life in the top of the 7th inning when David Levy led off with a single and Dominique Smedley reached on an error that put runners on the corners with no one out. A Gaige Garrett RBI groundout finally put the Pirates on the board. A walk to Jared Martin and a 2 out RBI single by Ty Abbott loaded the bases for Cam Sperry as Chatt Valley trailed 3-2. Sperry delivered a clutch single up the middle to put CVCC ahead 4-3, while the Pirates finished their scoring on a bases loaded walk by Levy to give the Pirates a semi-comfortable 5-3 lead.
Rentz turned the game over to Nate Morris, who earned a 3 inning save, allowing a single run on 1 hit. It wasn’t without drama though, as Morris walked 2 and hit 2 to keep the Trojans in the game. With 2 on and 1 out in the 9th, Morris punched out Bo Edwards and catcher Jared Martin picked off a CACC baserunner at first basem to end the game and secure a 5-4 win for the good guys.
The rubber match of the series became a runaway 8-0 win for Central Alabama. With momentum from game 1, CVCC had the bases loaded with only 1 out and failed to cash in in the first inning.
Starter Hunter Mitchell was not his typical self allowing 6 runs in 4 innings, with the damage coming in the 3rd inning from a bases loaded 2 out, 2 strike bases clearing triple that, in a 1-0 game, virtually sealed the deal for Central Alabama.
After CACC added 2 more runs in the 4th to push the lead to 6-0, the Pirates turned to reliever Payne Kosobucki to stop the bleeding, but allowed 2 more runs. In a 8-0 game, Colt Ramsey finally put a stop to the Trojan offense, tossing the final inning and two thirds of scoreless baseball.
There was no offense to speak of from the Pirate side of things, however, Jared Martin appeared to break out of his mini-slump, going 2 for 2 with a double.
The Pirates step out of conference on Wednesday, March 13th, as they return to Golden Park for a double header versus LaGrange College at 3:00 pm eastern.