After a disappointing series loss in Tallahassee, the Pirates had one final 4 game slate in the pre-conference before they opened up league play against Enterprise. A home stand against Thomas University and Gulf Coast preceded a 2 game set at Gordon State against Northwest Florida State and the home standing Highlanders.
Game 1 on Thursday saw the Pirates host Thomas University with sophomore southpaw, Stewart Tyler getting the midweek start for CVCC. The Pirates wasted no time getting on the board with a 6 run second inning. Back to back walks to Carson Hughes and Fuzzy Furr to start the inning was followed by a basehit by MJ Rookard. After 2 outs, Jayson Cook was hit by a pitch and Kurt Ornowski, AJ Willoughby and Hughes rolled off 3 consecutive singles to give Tyler a 6-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Stewart Tyler tossed 5+ beautiful innings of 5 hit baseball, allowing one earned run and leaving with a 7-2 lead after a solo homer by John Devine in the 4th inning. Alex Graulich came on in relief in the 6th to put out the fire, retiring 3 straight to end the TU threat.
CVCC added one more run in the 6th on an Ornowski RBI single to push the lead to 8-2. The combination of Graulich, Kendall Marshall and Hayden Siniard closed things out securing an 8-4 win.
On Friday, Chatt Valley played host to 4th ranked Gulf Coast State in a powerhouse matchup between two top 10 ranked teams and it was all CVCC from the get go. Pierce Smith started for the Pirates and threw 7 complete strong innings, allowing only 5 hits and 3 runs (2 earned), all of which came in the 4th inning.
The Pirate offense started fast and scored often, getting on the board in the 1st inning with 2 runs on a Jaylen Smith 2 out, 2 run double. Adding on in the 3rd, 4th and 5th with single runs, Brandon Hill singles, stole 2nd and 3rd and scored on Tre Kirklin’s RBI groundout, while Jon Jon Foster added an RBI single and Isaac Phillips contributed a sac fly to give the Pirates a 5-3 lead after 4 innings.
While Smith was shutting the Commodore offense down, the Pirates added 2 insurance runs in the 8th on Foster’s 2 run homer. JD Brown, Sawyer Steele and Tyler Elkins tossed 2 innings of shutout baseball to preserve the 7-4 win.
The Pirates traveled to Gordon State College on Saturday to play a DH against NW Florida State and the host team Highlanders of Gordon.
Game 1 vs NWFS was a classic pitchers duel with Casey Cobb throwing a gem against Raider ace JJ Montgomery. The only scoring of the day, came on a 2 out, 2 strike single by the Raiders to give NWF a 1-0 lead. After that single, Cobb didn’t allow a baserunner the rest of the game.
Unfortunately, the Pirate offense was not able muster anything to help Cobb out. A lead off single in the 5th by Jaylen Smith gave the Pirates promise, but he was caught stealing that ultimately cost CVCC, as Brandon Hill later walked and MJ Rookard delivered a 2 out single. Jayson Cook delivered what looked like the go ahead hit with 2 outs, but the Raider 2B snagged the liner up the middle to preserve the lead.
With one last shot, Foster laced a 2 out double, but a harmless groundout ended the 1-0 pithing dual and a loss for the Pirates.
Game 2 went from an easy Pirate win to the absolute unthinkable. Charles Crosby tossed 6 innings of 2 hit baseball, striking out 7 in the process and left with a 7-0 lead with only 3 outs to go.
Backing up, the Pirate offense scored methodically, putting 3 on the board in the 3rd, with back to back run scoring triples by Jaylen Smith and Brandon Hill. They added 2 more in the 4th, led by a Kurt Ornowski RBI groundout to give Crosby a 5-0 lead.
For added insurance, Jaylen Smith contributed yet another RBI basehit, en route to 2 more runs and a 7-0 lead.
Zach Cable came on in the 7th and retire 2 of the first 3 batters, leaving the Pirates one out away from a 3 out of 4 weekend win. However, baseball is crazy, and 2 walks later the bases were loaded with 2 outs. Once the smoke cleared, the Pirates gave up 8 free passes in the inning with 3 basehits and the Highlanders had an unconceivable come from behind walk off 8-7 win.
The 4th ranked Pirates finished pre-conference play with a 14-5 record and would next head into ACCC Southern Division play with a 4 game set versus Enterprise State.