by Jason Mehl, Director of TFC Sports Information
The TFC baseball team started its season winning two out of three games against Southern Weslyan University. The Eagles traveled to South Carolina on Feb. 11 for the season opener, which the hosts won 16-2. Despite the lop-sided score, Head Coach Justin Pollock stood by his pitchers, Nate Bowen and Dylan Charles, who he said were “victims of bad defense and timely hitting.” Of the 16 runs scored, only 9 of them were earned, and 8 of them came in the second inning. A trio of freshmen, Tyler Sellers, Andrew Thorne and Josh Ward, led the Eagles from the plate with two hits each. Thorne and Chris Jackson batted in one run each in the fifth inning.
TFC was able to avenge the loss the following day, winning both games of a double-header. In the first game, the Eagles almost squandered a pitching gem from Cam Fulcher. Fulcher pitched a complete 7-inning game giving up seven hits, one walk, and striking out seven batters while giving up 0 earned runs. However, due to misplayed balls in the outfield, the Eagles were still down 5-2 in the 6th inning. The Eagles scored three runs in the bottom of the 6th and one more in the 7th to seal 6-5 win. Ward and Sellers each went 2-4 with Sellers collecting 2 RBI. Brett Denney was 2-3 and also had 2 RBI. Fulcher did his part at the plate as well, going 3-4 with a double off the wall and batted in the winning run.
In the second game, TFC came out swinging and scored four runs in the 1st inning, three of them scoring on a dramatic inside-the-park home run by pitcher Jonny Hodges. After lumbering around the base paths, Hodges took the mound and pitched four solid innings, giving up only one run, before he started losing command and gave up two runs in the fifth. TFC failed to score for four innings despite loading the bases twice with one-out. Hodges started the sixth with a 4-3 lead, but gave up two quick hits and was relieved by Thorne who couldn’t keep those runs from scoring, but shut down the Southern Wesleyan bats the rest of the way. After Southern Wesleyan plated those two runners in the top of the 6th, TFC came up with one run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 5-5. In the bottom of the 9th inning of the 7-inning game, Sellers singled, Denney singled, and Adam Reynolds moved the runners over with a sacrifice, setting the stage for the game-winning base hit from pitcher Thorne. Sellers and Corey Warner went 3-4 and Denney and Hodges went 2-5. Pollock was pleased with the weekend. “We played timid on Friday. We want to let our effort and hustle define us and we didn’t do it on Friday. But it was great to see the way these young guys responded and came back the next day to win two tough games against a solid Southern Wesleyan team.”
The Eagles are at home Friday and Saturday with double headers against Grace College, both starting at 12:00.