April 11, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

 

CARTERVILLE – Lockdown starting pitching combined with improved hitting and defense added up to a three-game series sweep for the John A. Logan College baseball team Saturday. The Vols took a pair from the Lakers of Lake Land College of Mattoon, 6-1 and 3-2.

Vols head coach Jerry Halstead was pleased with his ballclub’s improved play.

“When you get good pitching, good things will happen,” he said. “And when you throw a little defense in there and swing it a little bit, you have a chance to win. I thought all three phases of the game were played pretty well by us this weekend.

Saturday’s starting pitchers, Bobby Pennington and Joey Marciano, along with Friday’s starter, Ryan Dunne, allowed the Lakers only three runs in 25 innings.

“Overall, we did a great job,” Halstead said. “This is what we needed to do and this is what we’ve got to keep doing.”

Logan improves to 11-7 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, good for a first-place tie with league leading Southwestern Illinois. The Vols are now 15-12 overall.

In the opener, freshman Bobby Pennington (3-1) got his first collegiate start and made the most of his opportunity. The righthander went seven innings and allowed only one run on nine hits. He struck out two and walked none.

“My deuce (curve) wasn’t that great today, but fortunately, my change up came around later in the game, which helped out a lot,” Pennington said. “The main thing is I was throwing strikes and my defense did a great job behind me.”

The fifth inning proved to be the pivotal point in the game.

With Logan holding a 3-1 lead, the Lakers put runners on second and third with nobody out.

Pennington recorded a strikeout of Salazar for the first out and then second baseman Nate Tholl dove to his left to spear a line drive for the second out, preventing a base hit and two runs from scoring. Pennington then got out of the inning by getting the Lakers’ clean-up hitter, Mendoza, to pop out to Parks at third in foul ground, ending the threat.

“Today, our guys were fantastic,” Pennington said. “We made all the plays. That play by Nate was huge.”

Another freshman, Matthias Dietz, was lights out the final two innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced, to secure the win.

Logan scored once in the first inning when Tholl singled in Kyle Schneider, who had singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a balk.

The Vols added a second run in the second inning when Austin Rieman singled, advanced to second on a groundout, stole third, and scored on a groundout off the bat of Tyler Robertson.
Another single tally was added in the third when Tholl singled and came around to score on an error. Two more runs crossed the plate in the sixth. Tyler Horchem singled. Rieman doubled him to third. Robertson bagged a two-run single.

The final run came in the seventh when Schneider doubled and scored on Jeff Hahs’ RBI single to right.

In Game 2, Logan fell behind 1-0 in the first, but quickly tied the game in the bottom of the frame when Schneider bunted for a single, advanced on an error, and scored on a groundout off the bat of Hahs.

Logan took a 2-1 lead in the third when Tholl walked, stole second, and scored on an single to right from Hahs. The advantage grew to 3-1 in the fifth when Jake Carpenter singled, advanced to second on a passed ball, and scored on an RBI single from Horchem.

“We’re definitely swinging the bats with a lot more confidence,” Horchem said. “Personally, I’m just trying to slow the game down and go up to bat with a base-hit mentality.”

Horchem said sweeping the Lakers is a huge confidence builder.

“Those are some big-time wins this weekend. We’re trying to make a push to get back in the conference race and this helps a lot. We just have to keep grinding.”

Winning pitcher Marciano (5-2) allowed a run in the top of the seventh to make it a 3-2 game, but induced a groundout to Parks at third to end the game. He finished with seven strikeouts and walked three, while scattering six hits.

 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Steve O’Keefe at 618-985-2828 ext. 8569 or email at steveokeefe@jalc.edu.