The Pioneers (23-13) (9-9 TCCAA) return home this weekend to face Motlow State Bucks (30-14) (12-6 TCCAA) after a rough road trip to Cleveland State (29-14) (9-9 TCCAA). Game times have shifted and will feature the doubleheader 7 inning games starting at 2:00 pm on Friday. Saturday's forecast does not look great so the 9 inning game could be played later but will shoot for a 12:00 pm start time. The Pioneers went 0-3 this past weekend dropping the series to Cleveland and leaving them tied with Cleveland at 9-9 in conference play. The Pioneers look to get their offense going against a potent Bucks offense that has 80 team homeruns and 77 doubles so far this year. A good 4-2 midweek win against Jackson State got some confidence rolling, especially for the pitching staff who will have their hands full this weekend.
These last three weekends for the Pioneers provide a chance to generate a comfortable seed in conference tournament play that begins in Chattanooga May 6th. These series provide a chance for the Pioneers to stay out of the play-in game. Motlow currently holds the number 3 spot in the standings behind a hot Columbia team and a dominant Walters State. The race is still close throughout the middle of the conference. The pioneers are currently only 3 games back of third place.
Week 6 Recap:
Game 1 – Game one against Cleveland the Pioneers struggled to get going offensively in a tough weather weekend. Sophomore Jacob Cole did his best to hold the game close for Vol State throwing 4.1 innings scattering 5 hits, 3 runs, and 5 walks. But with only 6 total hits, the Pioneers were unable to overcome an early 2-0 deficit. Bill Hamilton and Baylor Steelman did their best to try and spark a comeback going (3-3) and (2-4) at the plate.
Game 2 – The Pioneers started Chase Douglas to try and get the split on a cold and rainy Friday. Unfortunately, the struggles continued on the mound and at the plate. Sophomore Chase Douglas scattered 8 hits and 6 runs through 2 innings. The offense wasn't able to bail him out while struggling to get 3 hits total in game 2. The bullpen did their best to hold off the Cougar offense giving up 4 runs and only 2 earned. But, it just wasn't enough to get the Pioneers back into the game.
Game 3 – Saturday once again was a cold and wet day for Vol State's match up. The Pioneers sent crafty lefty James Hatcher to the bump to try and help salvage the weekend. Hatcher gave a strong 5.2 innings only allowing 6 hits, 6 runs and only 4 earned to give the offense a chance to win the game. The Pioneers offense came out firing on all cylinders early jumping out to a 6-0 lead. The barrage was led by sophomore Jake Lyle and freshman Lofton Cotton who both went (3-5). But, unfortunately, the pitching woes continued as the staff struggled to hold off a surging Cougar lineup. The Pioneers ultimately lost 12-8 on a walk off grand slam to go 0-3 on the weekend.