By: Nick Kieser
GALLATIN, TENNESSEE — The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers have completed and swept their recent conference against Southwest Tennessee Community College. This is the first conference sweep of the season for the Pioneers and in turn, extend the winning streak to five games to begin the last full month of play.
Game one saw Corey Wilson get the start and the Pioneers won 3-2 to get the series started. Wilson pitched a complete game for a grand total of seven innings pitched, five hits allowed, two runs allowed, and struck seven batters out. His total count of strikeouts is 37 on the season which is a team-high number this year. Box score for game one here.
A note to mention as well is that first baseman Bill Hamilton was responsible for scoring all three of the runs in that the Pioneers had in game one of the series. He doubled his first time up and singled his second time up to score in Lofton Cotton for the game-winning play in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Chase Haley started but did not finish game two of the series. In his fourth start of the season, Haley had a grand total of five innings pitched, one run and hit allowed, and six strikeouts.
Haley was relieved in the fifth inning by Preston Burnett after he lost the no-hitter and hit the next batter. Burnett got his first win of the season and pitched for two innings totaling one strikeout.
"The off-speed pitches were what allowed me to be as dominant as I was in the time that I pitched. My fastball through the first three innings went well, and then all of my off-speeds were more consistent which threw them for a loop," said Haley about his pitching performance.
Zeke Lecomte was the last batter of the game after Southwest had tied the game in the top of the seventh inning. Cole Flatt singled and Justin St. Amour advanced his teammate on a bunt attempt to try and take a jab at a walk-off single. Lecomte did just that to take game two of the series. Box score for game two is here.
"You do the same thing like every other at-bat, get in there dig in and try to get something into play. It wasn't anything too hard or special it just worked," said Lecomte following the team's win on Sunday, April 1.
Game three with the series already in hand the Pioneers pulled away in the bottom of the fourth with Jordan Jackson's second home run of the season to win by the score of 7-3 to earn the sweep. Game three's box score is here.
Jack Sensing pitched five innings for five strikeouts and Colin Kriminger pitched 1.2 innings to close the game with five strikeouts and get his first save of the season. The Pioneers had a total of five earned hits and error against that kept the game intact to control the tempo.
"I really just wanted to prove myself and I believe I did that. I think doing this I was able to be focused and shut everyone down that faced for the most part," said Kriminger.
"It's a good feeling to be up on a team like that. It gives the pitchers more confidence when they have a lead instead of pitching a tie game or in a deficit. If our bats get hot early and our pitchers are doing well that's what leads to wins," said Jackson about what hitting that home run did and can do down the stretch as more conference games approach.
The Pioneers will leave to take on Jackson State Community College for the next series on the road. Jackson State was swept in their last conference series against Chattanooga State Community College.
"The guys have started to buy into what we have wanted to do the past couple of months. We are starting to understand that we need to make things happen and you have to grind it out and that's what I think we did this weekend," said Assistant Coach Corvin Scott.
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