The # 1 ranked Chattahoochee Valley Pirates went back into conference action on Friday with a double header at Golden Park against the Bison from Southern Union. As is always the case, the two rivals played two hard fought baseball games, with Southern Union taking game 1 4-3, while the Pirates snagged the nightcap 2-0.
The Pirates sent Ben Taylor to the mound in game 1, and he gave the Pirates another quality start in the loss. While allowing only 2 earned runs, a few Pirate miscues cost Big Ben and the Pirates a win.
The Bison jumped on top in the 1st with a 2 out run on a fluke play. Cody Walker perfectly blocked a 2 strike slider from Taylor, but when he jumped to his feet, he inadvertently kicked the baseball, allowing the Bison base runner to score.
The score held at 1-0 until a 2 out error by Chatt Valley allowed Southern Union to jump on the board again in the fifth. However, the Pirates answered in their half, as the loaded the bases with 1 out. Nick Jones hit a towering shot to shallow centerfield, on which the umpire called the infield fly rule. No one caught the ball and David Levy raced home to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The only earned runs SUCC scored came in the 7th and 8th off of Taylor on 2, 2 out base hits to pus the tally to 4-1.
Ty Abbott answered for CV as he hit a mammoth homerun to the opposite field to close the gap to 4-3. Trailing by that score in the 9th, the Pirates got a lead off single by pinch hitter, Jeff Ronpirin, but left him stranded at second base to end the game on the wrong end of a 4-3 decision.
Game 2 was sheer dominance by freshman sensation, Dalton “Big Donkey” Rentz, as he tossed a complete game, 2 hit shutout, in which he faced the minimum amount of hitters (21) in the 7 inning game. The Bison had only 3 baserunners, all day, 1 of which was erased on a caught stealing by Jared Martin, and the other 2 wiped out on double plays. Not a single Southern Union hitter even sniffed second base.
Offensively, it took 5 innings for the Pirates to get going, as well, as SUCC starter, Byron Headley kept the Pirate offense off balance all day. However, Tim Massengale struck with a lead off double and advanced to third on Sam Knight’s deep fly ball to right field and Cody Walker stroked the first pitch he saw through the drawn in infield to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Donk took over and pitched his best down the stretch, striking out 2 in the 6th for a shut down inning. In the 7th Luke Ewing led off with a single and moved to second on Gaige Garrett’s sacrifice bunt and then scored on Nick Jones’ 2 out single to right field to give Rentz a 2-0 cushion.
Rentz allowed his second hit of the day with a lead off single in the 7th. After a fly out for the first out of the inning, Donk induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and salvage a split.
The Pirates are now 20-3 on the year and run their conference record to 2-3. The rubber match of this series will be Sunday at 2:00 pm eastern at Golden Park.