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Senators split road doubleheader at Tusculum
 April 23, 2013

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The Walters State Senators geared up for a huge region weekend series with Roane State by traveling to Greeneville Tuesday and splitting a doubleheader against the Tusculum JV Pioneers at Pioneer Park.

The Senators led late in the opening game but surrendered a four-spot and the lead in the fifth inning before falling 9-8 to the Pioneers in the first tilt. The second contest came down to the final inning, with Walters State pulling out a 6-3 win by scoring three runs in the seventh.

With the split, the Senators are now 32-16 on the season, and they enter Friday’s series opener with Roane State leading the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association by a half-game over Dyersburg State and a full game over No. 15 Chattanooga State.

A sweep of the three-game series with the Raiders at Senator Field would assure WSCC of the regular season TCCAA title and they would host the NJCAA East Central District Championship Tournament with a spot in the JUCO World Series on the line.

In Tuesday’s opener, Michael Smith, Matt Harrell and Jared Allen had two hits each for the Senators in the loss, with Allen driving in a pair of runs. Dustin Woody, Reid Mathews and Colin Bennett each added a hit, with Woody driving in three runs and Bennett smacking his sixth home run of the season.

Taylor Foster and Vinny Ferrara had two hits and three RBIs each in the win for Tusculum. Nathan Connaughton picked up the win by tossing two relief innings and giving up three earned runs on four hits. Clark Ayers notched the save after giving up an earned run on two hits in two innings.

Zach Walton (4-1) took the loss, the first in his two-year collegiate career, after giving up two runs – one earned on three hits in two innings of work. Chase Cunningham drew the start and allowed seven earned runs on six hits in four-plus innings.

Walters State jumped on top in the first two innings, as Elijah Sutherland scored on an error and Woody drove in another run in the first inning on a grounder. Allen added a two-run single in the second inning for the Senators, making it 4-0.

The Pioneers rallied with five runs scoring in the third to take a 5-4 lead, but WSCC battled back in the fifth. Woody plated a pair with a double and scored on a double play ball to give the Senators a 7-5 advantage.

Tusculum rallied in the bottom of the frame, taking a 9-7 lead before the Senators got a run back in the seventh on a solo homer from Bennett. Ayers retired the next two batters to seal the win.

In the nightcap, Campbell took the opportunity to rest nearly all of his starters, and the reserves came up with the late rally for a win.

Allen, Chris Hipchen, Brycen Roberts, Alex Couch and Austin Taylor each recorded a hit, with Roberts smacking a triple and Hipchen driving in two runs. Allen, Roberts and Woody each drove in a run in the win.

Andrew Bowerman and Ferrara both had two hits in the loss. Former Walters State pitcher Cody Poarch took the loss for the Pioneers in relief, as he allowed four runs – three earned – on two hits in two innings of work.

Grant Painter got the win in relief for the Senators after retiring all four batters he faced. Corey Greeson surrendered three earned runs on six hits and struck out five in 5.2 innings.

The Pioneers held a 1-0 lead entering the third inning of the nightcap before Hipchen ripped a two-run single to put Walters State on top, 2-1.

The lead remained the same until Tusculum tied it in the fifth and the Senators used an RBI triple from Roberts to take a 3-2 lead in the sixth. The Pioneers once again knotted the score in the bottom of the sixth, but WSCC rallied again.

Allen gave the Senators the lead for good with an RBI single and two more runs scored on an error to bring the final to 6-3.

The Senators are scheduled to host Roane State at 2 p.m. Friday in a nine-inning game, but with inclement weather forecasted for this weekend, the schedule is subject to change.

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