The Vol State Baseball Program will travel to Austin Peay State University on Saturday for their 2nd showcase of the fall. The Pioneers will play conference foes Dyersburg State at 3:00 p.m. and Jackson State at 8:00 p.m. Both games are scheduled for 7 innings. Dyersburg State won the TCCAA regular season and tournament title last year on their way to a World Series birth in Grand Junction. Jackson State returns some talent and should give Vol State a good test as well.
Last weekend at MTSU the Pioneers rallied in the 7th in game one to earn a 4-0 win vs Chattanooga State. The pitching for Vol State was outstanding; the Tigers were limited to 3 hits in 7 innings. Sophomore Jake Lyle sparked the late rally with a leadoff single. The next two Pioneers were hit by pitches and sophomore Collin Hopkins capitalized off a seeing-eye single to score the first 2 runs of the game. Vol State went on to score 2 more via a double from sophomore Raul Mercado.
Game two vs the KC/NY Scout team proved a tough test for the Pioneers losing 3-1. The young arms for the scout team were sharp and scattered 5 hits across 7 innings. Vol State picked up a run off Lyles solo HR in the 7th and even sent the tying run to the plate but couldn't do any more damage.
Defensively, the Pioneers looked fairly sharp on the day. Sophomore outfielder Baylor Steelman added a few diving catches as well as a few assists from CF showing off his arm strength. "We know going into these showcases that it's about our guys, especially our sophomores getting a chance to showcase themselves so they have a chance to continue playing this game beyond our program," said Coach Hunt. Hunt added, "Team wise we know that the end result as far as score doesn't matter much. But, we do get a chance to evaluate certain things and personnel that will ultimately help us win ballgames in the spring which is a positive. We emphasize this three week showcase season we play in the fall is about our guys showing what they could provide for the many programs and scouts that come watch the showcases. From a team standpoint, we stress the importance of still playing our brand of baseball; we want programs to know that they are going to get a kid that will play the game the right way."
The stadium was full of clipboards, stop watches and radar guns at MTSU. That should also be the case at Austin Peay this weekend and Western Kentucky next weekend.