Pioneers Take 9-3 Record Into Conference Play

Pioneers Take 9-3 Record Into Conference Play

It was a warm Friday followed by a bitterly cold Saturday in which the Pioneers were able to split two double headers to move to 9-3 with three weeks in the books.  Vol State will have a chance to rest up and work on some fundamentals before TCCAA play starts Friday in Gallatin, TN.   The Pioneers will take the field at 2:00 pm vs Columbia State.

Friday started off very well for the Pioneers vs the #7 ranked team in NJCAA Division II, the Parkland College Cobras.  The Cobras came in with a 2-0 record and turned to their Ace Brady Schanuel.  Vol State was able to strike early with a leadoff double by Eddie McDaniels who moved up to third on a bunt hit by Luke Jones.  Sophomore Alex Lyon stayed hot and drove in Eddie McDaniels with a single.  Schanuel then settled in with his low 90s fastball striking out the next 5 Pioneers.  Vol State sent sophomore Drew Hall to the hill and he was equally as impressive going 6.1 innings only allowing 1 run and 4 hits; he spread out 4 walks and struck out 9 Cobras.  The Pioneers were able to scratch 1 more run in the 3rd inning with a leadoff walk by Matt Brown.  After a successful sac bunt by McDaniels, Lyon was able to drive in Brown with a single to make the lead 2-0, Volunteers after 3.  Lyon added a home run in the bottom of the 6th to expand the lead to 3-1.  That was all the cushion the Neers bullpen needed; freshman Kody Keiser was able to get out of a 6th jam to hold the lead at 3-1.  Freshman Chase Douglas then shut the door on the Cobras in the 7th for his 4th save of 2017 and gave Hall a 2-0 record with a 1.15 ERA.
 
Game 2 on Friday proved to be a tough early test as sophomore James Hatcher seemed to be rolling once again before abruptly exiting the game in the 3rd inning because of an injury.  Parkland was able to take advantage by plating 4 runs to take a 4-0 lead after 3.  Vol State was able to scratch a run in the bottom of the 4th after an error by the Cobras and a single by Richard Constantine that led to a sacrifice fly from freshman Noah Sims to cut the lead to 4-1.  The Cobras added another run in the 5th but the Neers got it going in the bottom half of the 5th with a leadoff walk by freshman Luke Alexander.  Freshman Luke Jones then hit a home run over the right field wall to cut the lead to 5-3.  After a 1 out walk by freshman Baylor Steelman followed by a walk by Lyon, freshman Jake Lyle drove in Steelman to cut the lead to 1 at 5-4 after 5.  Parkland responded in the 6th with two more runs.  The Pioneers responded in the 7th with a run from a Steelman double that led to a RBI single by Lyle bringing the score to 7-5.  Vol State stranded the tying run at first to end the game with a final score of 7-5 Parkland.
 
Saturday turned bitterly cold and the Pioneers were in another back and forth battle with Parkland in the rubber match of the 3 game series vs the Cobras.  The Pioneers took the lead in the first with a leadoff walk by McDaniels who then stole second.  Lyon added yet another RBI on the weekend to grab the lead 1-0.  The score stayed 1-0 behind a very strong performance by freshman Jakob Cole.  Cole went 6.1 innings striking out 6 while giving up 2 earned runs.  The Pioneers took the lead in the 5th plating 2 runs to make the score 3-1 after 5.  Vol State gave up 3 runs in the 6th and relinquished the lead trailing 4-3.  The resilient Neers tied it up in the bottom of the 7th to send the game to extra innings.  The 8th inning was not kind for the defense of Vol State.  Parkland was able to score 4 unearned runs to push their lead to 8-4 heading into the bottom of the 8th.  Vol State was able to get a guy on in the bottom half of the 8th but could not make a dent in the lead as the Neers fell 8-4.
 
Game 2 on Saturday was against Schoolcraft College out of Michigan.  Vol State jumped on them early with Lyle and Lyon singling.  Luke Jones picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice and Lyon then scored on an error by the third baseman.  Ben Wiley got the start for the Pioneers and threw another solid outing going all 5 innings giving up 2 runs, 1 earned, and striking out 7.  Vol State broke the game wide open in the 4th with 6 runs to take an 8-2 lead into the 5th.  In the 5th inning, cut short because of the 10 run rule, the Neers stuck the dagger by plating 4 more runs to cruise to a 12-2 victory.
 
Vol State moved to 9-3 after the 2-2 weekend and will have some time off to work on some things as they gear up for the TCCAA opener Friday in Gallatin vs Columbia State.