The Pirates entered the weekend series at Southern Union with many questions and uncertainty regarding the state of the pitching staff. Those questions were certainly answered as Chattahoochee Valley went into the lions’ den in Wadley, Alabama and swept three huge conference games from first place Southern Union on Friday and Saturday.
Friday’s game began with the Pirates somewhat feeling their way through the first five innings of play. Starter Dalton Rentz had allowed two runs early, but settled in to keep the Bison at bay and give the Pirate offense a chance.
Down 2-0 and being one hit by SU starter, Locke St. John through five, Dominique Smedly led off the 6th with a single, moved to second on a Luke Ewing sac bunt and stole third to give the Pirates life. After a Timmy Massengale walk, Jared Martin singled in Smedley and Nick Jones hit a sac fly to tie the score at two apiece.
Rentz was completely dominant the rest of the way, allowing only 2 hits while striking out 8 Bison over the final four frames in his complete game effort. On the day, he scattered 9 hits, with no walks and struck out a season high for all CVCC pitchers, 14 hitters.
With Rentz taking over the game on the mound, the offense took over at the plate, seizing the lead in the 7th on Cody Walker’s double and Gaige Garrett’s RBI groundout. In the 8th, BTTJ Massengale singled with one out and scored on Jared Martin’s double and then Nick Jones hit an absolute bomb to put the Pirates up 6-2.
Not yet finished, the Pirates added 2 insurance runs in the 9th on RBI hits by Massengale and Martin to put the game away for an 8-2 Pirate win.
On Saturday, the Pirates struck first and never looked back, scoring 2 runs in the top of the first inning on Ty Abbott’s 2 run double. Up 2-0, Nick Jones scorched an RBI single scoring Massengale, who had singled earlier, to give Pirate starter, Ben Taylor, a 3-0 lead.
Taylor was equally impressive in his own complete game effort, as he overpowered the Bison hitters in his 9 innings of work, scattering 9 hits and punching out 11 hitters, allowing zero free passes.
With Taylor on cruise control, the Pirates scratched for another run in the 5th, when Sam Knight collected his 2nd of 3 hits on the day scoring Dominique Smedley with 2 outs to push the lead to 4-0.
Southern Union scratched for a run in the 7th with some two out rallying of their own to shrink the margin to 3 runs. However, the Pirate offense responded immediately by plating 2 insurance runs in the top of the 8th, with a sac fly from Smedley and an RBI single from Abbott.
Up 6-1 with 6 outs to go, Taylor made those final 2 innings uneventful, striking out 3 of the final 6 batters to complete the series win and put CVCC in position to sweep the weekend set.
The Pirates sent freshman, Matt Evenson to the mound in game 3 and, he too, pitched like a man with something to prove, giving the Pirates 6 innings of 4 hit baseball, allowing only a single earned run.
Grabbing the lead early, CV scored twice in the top of the first inning on a single by Jared Martin and a groundout by Ty Abbott.
SU answered right back in their half of the first, scoring a run to cut the deficit to 2-1. However, while Evenson was putting up zeroes, the Pirate offense essentially put the game away in the fourth inning on a Gaige Garrett RBI fielder’s choice and Dominique Smedley’s huge two out, 2 run triple to give the swashbucklers a 5-1 lead they would not relinquish.
After Evenson allowed an unearned run in the 6th, he turned the ball over to Nate Morris in the 7th to close it out. With a little drama, Morris shut the door on Southern Union for a 5-3 win, a series sweep and season series win.
The three wins put CVCC at 38-8 on the year and 12-8 in ACCC Central Divsion play. The Pirates travel to Central Alabama on Tuesday, April 23rd for a single game at 5:00 pm eastern.