March 29, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Solid pitching and timely hitting proved to be the difference Saturday as the John A. Logan College baseball team swept a doubleheader from league-leading Lincoln Trail, 5-3 and 5-2, to capture the three-game series two games to one.

Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning of the opener, Logan got a leadoff double from Jeff Hahs. Doug Parks walked. Tyler Horchem then reached on a sacrifice bunt, which loaded the bases with nobody out. After Austin Rieman struck out, Vols’ head coach Jerry Halstead inserted Kenny King into the lineup to pinch hit for Colton Bryant.

King drove in Hahs with a fielder’s choice grounder to short. A second runner, Parks, also scored on the play when Lincoln Trail second baseman Cody Hall had his legs taken out from under him by Horchem when he slid into second.

Freshman reliever Bobby Pennington (2-1) made the lead stand up and earned the victory. He tossed three scoreless frames and struck out the side in the eighth.

“I just wanted to come in and throw strikes and let my defense do the job behind me,” Pennington said. “It feels pretty nice to come in and do the job. My mentality is to attack the hitters. Today, I was consistently in the mid 80s with my fastball and topped out at 90, but it was my change up that may have been my most effective pitch.”
Sophomore Ryan Dunne started the game and worked the first six innings, allowing only one earned run on two hits with a stunning 11 strikeouts.

Sophomore centerfielder Kyle Schneider paced the offense with three hits, including a double. Hahs was 2-for-4. Bailey Schimpf and Parks were each 2-for-3.

In Game 2, sophomore southpaw Joey Marciano (3-2) was staked to a 2-0 lead and picked up the victory for the Vols. The SIUC signee went the distance, holding the Statesmen to two runs on seven hits. He struck out 10 and walked two.

Logan got on the board in the second when Rieman perfectly executed a safety squeeze bunt to drive home Hahs, who had reached on an infield single. King then followed with an RBI single, driving in Horchem.

The Vols tallied three insurance runs in the fifth on an RBI single from Schneider and two-run single by sophomore designated hitter Jake Carpenter.

“We really needed these wins to build our confidence,” King said. “Hopefully, this will lead to some more W’s. I’m really proud of all the guys. It was a great team effort.”

Halstead said it felt good to finally turn the tables on an opponent.

“We’ve been on a resuscitator here the last couple of days. We really needed this,” he said. “It’s a big pick-up for us to win two here today and take the series against a very good Lincoln Trail team. Our pitching was very good and we pounded out enough hits (18 over the two games) to get the job done. It sure feels good to walk away here today with two wins.”

Halstead said he is hopeful the Vols can build on Saturday’s performance.

“This is a game of confidence and we got some of that today against good pitching,” he said. “We needed this badly.”

The Vols, now 6-6 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and 8-10 overall, host a doubleheader with Morthland College Monday and then resume league play Thursday and Friday with Wabash Valley College.