The TFC Eagles hosted North Greenville on Thursday in the season’s home opener. North Greenville traveled to Toccoa with a 1-6 record while the Eagles owned a 4-2 mark prior to Thursday. With the help of effective starting pitching and power at the plate, the Eagles topped the visiting Crusaders 12-2.
After the Crusaders stranded a runner in the top of the first inning, the Eagles took an early 1-0 in textbook fashion. Leadoff hitter Ronnie Stewart singled and advanced into scoring position courtesy of Josh Ward’s sacrifice bunt. Will Patrick followed with a single to right-center and scored Stewart from second. Patrick would be stranded in scoring position, but his RBI single would ignite TFC’s best offensive output this season.
Starting pitcher Dylan Charles pitched his way out of jams in the second and third innings to keep TFC in front 1-0. In the Eagles’ turn in the third, Russ Pritchett (pictured above), Stewart and Ward reached safely to load the bases with no outs. Will Patrick collected his second and third RBI’s of the game with a single down the right field line. On the play, Pritchett and Stewart scored, and Ward advanced to third base. Ward would later score from a Justin Key RBI single. Through three innings, TFC led the Crusaders 4-0.
After allowing 5 Crusaders to reach safely in the first three innings, Dylan Charles settled in and allowed just three base runners over his final three innings. Charles gave way to reliever Brady McMichael after 6 innings pitched, four hits allowed, five walks, three strike outs, and no runs allowed.
Toccoa Falls had used “small ball” to build a 4-0 through 5 innings played. But in the 6th, the Eagles demonstrated their ability to hit the long ball as well. After Tyler Sellars walked to open the inning, freshman Tray Hill (pictured right) hit his second home run of the season to deep left-center field. Russ Pritchett followed and smacked his first homer of the season. After Tray Hill and Pritchett hit back-to-back home runs, the Eagles held a comfortable 7-0 lead.
TFC extended its lead to 9-0 in the 7th after Josh Hill hit a two-run homer. The Crusaders would get on the board in the 8th to cut TFC’s lead to 9-2, but the Eagles’ bats would answer to squash any attempt at a late rally. Russ Pritchett highlighted the 8th inning with his second home run of the day, part of an inning in which TFC scored three runs and extended its lead to 12-2. McMichael retired the Crusaders in the 9th to record the three-inning save.
Led by Russ Pritchett’s two home runs, the Eagles exploded for 12 runs on 13 hits in the comfortable win over NGU. Pritchett finished 2-3 with three runs scored and two RBI’s. Tray Hill and Josh Hill (pictured above left) also homered for the Eagles. Ronnie Stewart finished 3-4 at the plate with three runs scored. Will Patrick added three hits and drove in three runs.
Toccoa Falls will host Point University on Friday in a double header that will begin at 1:00 PM. The double header with Point University will be streamed live. On Saturday, TFC will travel to North Greenville as the Crusaders will look to even the score from Thursday. Saturday’s game at NGU will begin at 3:00 PM.