During the week of February 2-8, TFC athletics enjoyed success in all three participating sports. Baseball took two of three games at Southern Wesleyan University. The Lady Eagles and the men’s basketball teams each won one game and lost one game during the week. The basketball men topped NCAA DIII Sewanee University but fell to CIU. The Lady Eagles defeated Hiwassee College but were also defeated by CIU.
The baseball team at Toccoa Falls traveled to Southern Wesleyan University on February 7-8 for a three game series. Last weekend at Bryan College, the Eagles lost Friday’s matchup, but rebounded to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader in its only series of the short season. SWU also entered into the weekend with a 2-1 record, having taken two of three against Bluefield College. In the weekend series between the south region opponents, TFC dropped Friday’s game 10-0, but swept Saturday’s doubleheader 5-3 and 7-5, just as the Eagles had done against Bryan.
Dylan Charles took the ball for the Eagles in Friday’s contest. Last weekend at Bryan, Charles pitched well, but was given the loss despite not allowing an earned run. SWU took the lead off Charles in the bottom of the first, and added three runs in the fourth to jump to a 4-0 lead. The Eagles struggled against SWU starting pitcher Matt Craig. Of Craig, Coach Justin Pollock said, “He [Craig] is one of the better guys we’ll face this season. He kept us off balanced, and we failed to make any adjustments at the plate.” Craig scattered four hits in 7 shutout innings. For TFC, freshman Clay Ogle replaced Charles in the bottom of the 6thinning, and struggled to get the Eagles out of a tight spot. The Warriors plated four runs in the inning, and blew the game open for a 10-0 advantage. Against the Warriors, Charles took the loss for the Eagles, but pitched better than his final stat line reflected. “Charles pitched well on Friday, but gave up a lot of soft hits. And the offense certainly did not help him out at all,” said Coach Pollock.
Shortstop Jordan Couillard led off the second inning of Saturday’s first game with a double to left-center field. After Zack Warner (pictured left) moved Couillard to third base with a single, Josh Hill’s sacrifice fly to right-center field gave the Eagles an early 1-0 lead; its first lead of the series.
TFC would double its lead in the third inning when Ronnie Stewart walked and scored after a Josh Ward single and a wild pitch.
The Warriors would tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third off starting pitcher Zach Breeden. In the inning, SWU scored two runs, off three hits, and stranded two runners on base.
In the 6th inning, Warner walked and Josh Hill doubled for runners in scoring position and no outs. Jimmy Walker’s sacrifice fly scored Warner to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead. Hill was stranded in scoring position, but represented an important insurance run the Eagles would have had liked to have scored.
Leading 3-2 in last and final inning, Colton Roberts came to the mound in hopes of earning the save. Roberts walked the leadoff hitter, who would later score the tying run off a SWU double. With the game tied at 3-3, Roberts buckled down, and stranded the game-winning run on third base.
After a scoreless 8th and 9th innings, the Eagles scored two runs in the 10th despite opening the inning with back to back strike outs. Josh Hill walked and Jimmy Walker singled and Hill later scored on the wild pitch during Justin Key’s at bat. On the wild pitched, Walker moved up to second base, and would score on Key’s single to right. The Eagles’ two out rally put TFC in front 5-3.
Zach Murdock came on for TFC in the bottom half of the 10th and retired SWU 1-2-3 for his first save of the season.
In the win, Justin Key was the lone Eagle with a multi-hit game. Key finished 2-5 with a RBI. Jimmy Walker was 1-3 with a run scored and a run batted in. Ronnie Stewart, Zack Warner, and Josh Hill also scored for TFC. Josh Ward added a hit and two stolen bases.
The bullpen allowed a lone run in 5 innings of work. Brady McMichael pitched two scoreless innings, and Colton Roberts bounced back to earn the win. Coach Pollock said of starting pitcher Zach Breeden and the team, “I was very proud of the team for not quitting and battling through some adversity. It was great to see Breeden pitch well after struggling at Bryan. It was a good team win. Not one guy really stood out; we just found a way to win in the 10th. That’s a great way to win games.”
Justin Key took the mound in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader, and allowed two first inning runs to SWU. TFC would answer with a run in the second and three in the third inning to take a 4-2 lead. The Eagles would also score a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to hold a 7-2 advantage. The Warriors would chase Key from the game and plate three runs in the 5th inning to bring TFC’s lead to 7-5.
Josh Hill entered the game in the 5th with bases loaded and two outs. Hill ended the Warriors’ threat with a strike out and pitched a scoreless 6th and 7th innings for his first save of the season and preserved the win for starting pitcher Justin Key. “Key pitched well enough to win, but he didn’t have his best stuff. Hill gave great effort and shut them down for the last two innings,” said Coach Pollock.
Josh Ward and Jordan Couillard each recorded two hits, a run batted in, and a run scored in the game three win. Ward stole two more bases in game three, his third and fourth stolen bases on the day. Ronnie Stewart, Will Patrick, Tray Hill, Josh Hill and Erick Lusk also scored for the Eagles. Stewart, Patrick, Walker, and Michael Sneed recorded RBI’s.
The Eagles improve to 4-2 with two series wins on the young season. TFC will travel to Reinhardt College on Wednesday for a doubleheader starting at 2:00 and 4:00 PM. The Eagles will also travel to Truett-McConnell College on Friday. The Bears and Eagles will wrap up the weekend series on Saturday in a doubleheader hosted by TFC. Saturday’s games will be the home opening games for the Eagles. Friday’s game at Truett will begin at 3:00, and Saturday’s double dip in Toccoa will start at 12:00 and 2:00 PM.
TFC welcomed Sewanee University to campus on February 4 and Columbia International University on February 8. TFC won its 5th consecutive game on Tuesday and topped Sewanee 70-67. Columbia International snapped TFC’s winning streak on Saturday and beat TFC 77-71.
Sewanee opened the game with back to back lay ups for a quick 4-0 lead. TFC would go on a four minute, 12-0 run to hold a 12-4 lead 6 minutes into play. The teams played evenly throughout the first half and exchanged the lead five times throughout the opening period. After trailing 19-21 with 4:04 remaining, TFC closed the half on an 8-3 run to hold a slim 27-24 halftime lead.
In the second half, TFC never trailed and would hold a lead that grew as large as 54-44 with just over 8 minutes remaining in the game. Just as Sewanee was gaining some moment and tension was growing, TFC’s Clay Martin threw down a powerful two hand slam to ignite the crowd and the Eagles. Martin’s dunk gave TFC a 61-54 lead. Sewanee’s Seth Brown and Jorden Williams combined to hit three consecutive three pointers to close TFC’s gap to 66-63. Josh Barrett hit a tough jumper and Derek Westfall converted two free throws to extend the Eagles lead to 70-63 with 2:04 remaining. Sewanee’s Keshonn Carter scored four consecutive points to narrow TFC’s margin to 70-67 with 55 seconds still to play. TFC buckled down on defense, and the only shot the Eagles would allow over the last minute of action was a last second three point attempt by Sewanee’s Matt Tome. Even though Sewanee had shot 6-9 behind the arc in the second half, Tome’s attempt was long, and the clock expired for TFC’s 5th consecutive victory. Additionally, the win was TFC’s 11th win in its last 14 games.
The Tigers out shot the Eagles in the game, 48%-40%. However, TFC’s full court pressure forced Sewanee into 18 turnovers, and allowed TFC to score 21 totals off turnovers, compared to Sewanee’s 10 points off TFC turnovers. TFC’s clutch free throw shooting in the second half helped to seal the win. The Eagles shot 9-10 from the line in the half and 16-21 in the game.
TFC’s Cam Williams (pictured left) led all scorers with 21 points. Williams also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Josh Barrett was 4-7 behind the arc and finished with 17 points. Jon Sauls added 11 points. For the Tigers, Carter dropped 20 points, and Williams added 15.
In the CIU loss, Williams and Josh Barrett finished with identical 16 points and 7 rebounds. Barrett also added 8 assists, three blocks, and two steals. Westfall contributed 12 points and 8 boards in the loss. CIU’s Ben Johnson hit 7-8 free throws and led all scorers with 22 points. Alonzo Green added 20 points for the Rams.
The defeat to CIU was TFC’s first loss in its last 6 games. The Eagles will travel to Pensacola Christian College (Feb. 13) and Clearwater Christian College (Feb. 14) for region games that will go a long way in determining region tournament seeding. Currently, the Eagles sit in 2nd place in the region with a 8-2 mark.
The TFC Lady Eagles hosted Hiwassee College on February 7 and Columbia International University on February 8. TFC topped Hiwassee on Friday 74-68, but fell to CIU 63-57.
Against Hiwassee, TFC’s Cassidy Lang opened the game with a three point basket, and Katie Calloway also converted on her first chance to give the Eagles a quick 5-0 lead. Throughout the opening minutes of the half, the Lady Eagles continued to hold a slim lead over the Lady Tigers. TFC’s lead reached double digits at 24-14 with 8:40 remaining in the half. Alana Jones’ lay up with 21 seconds left gave the Lady Eagles a 38-24 lead. After back to back lay ups from Hiwasseee in the final seconds, TFC took a 38-28 lead into halftime.
In the opening half, TFC shot 17-36 on two point attempts, outshooting the Lady Tigers 42%-29% overall.
The Lady Tigers stormed out of the locker room and quickly erased TFC’s lead. Hiwassee tied the game at 43-43 after less than 5 minutes played in the half. The Lady Tigers would take its first lead of the game at 52-50 with 11:31 remaining. Rachel Morris scored 5 consecutive points to restore TFC’s lead at 55-52. Following Morris’ three pointer with over 10 minutes remaining, the Lady Eagles would never trail again. The Lady Eagles would go on to take the game from the persistent Lady Tigers, 74-68.
Cassidy Lang led TFC with 16 points, and Katie Calloway added 15 points and 12 rebounds. Kim Crapse and Esther Shady also recorded double digit rebounding totals. Crapse finished with 7 points and 13 boards, while Shady had 8 points and 16 rebounds. On the night, TFC out rebounded Hiwassee 62-33. TFC’s Alanna Jones recorded 7 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and four steals in the win. Hiwassee’s Halei Lequire led all scorers with 21 points. Haylee Morrow added 13 points, and Tori McMinn finished with 12 points.
After trailing CIU 32-21 and struggling offensively in the first half, TFC ramped up its intensity early in the second half. TFC cut CIU’s lead to 38-34 to force CIU to call timeout with 14:12 remaining. CIU’s Elizabeth Hodges began to heat up from behind the arc, and helped CIU to regain its double digit advantage, 50-38. TFC would go on a 13-2 run to cut CIU’s lead to just 52-51 with 4:22 left to play. However, CIU would outscore TFC 11-7 in the closing minutes of the game to ice the win, 63-57.
After being dominated in the paint in the first half, TFC outscored CIU in the paint 14-10 in the second period. The Lady Eagles also outscored CIU on points off turnovers, 10-3 in the half. However, as a team, CIU outshot TFC from deep in the second half, 5-12 compared to 2-5 for TFC. CIU’s sharpshooting from behind the arc proved to be the difference in the contest.
Alanna Jones (pictured right) led the Eagles with 9 points, and Katie Calloway added 9 points and 11 rebounds.Cassidy Lang and Esther Shady also scored 9 points each. CIU’s Elizabeth Hodges led all scorers with 22 points on 5-11 shooting from three point range. Abigail Siemens recorded 9 points and 9 boards, and Kara Thompson added 12 points for CIU.
Saturday’s game was Senior Day for team captain Kim Crapse, the Lady Eagles’ lone senior. Crapse (pictured top right) recorded 6 points, 7 rebounds, two steals and two assists.
The Lady Eagles will travel to region foes Pensacola Christian College and Clearwater Christian College on Feb. 13-14. TFC’s last home game will be played on February 20 against Wesleyan College at 6:00 PM.