April 16, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE - Sophomore outfielder Logan Kaletha blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to secure an 8-4 Game 2 victory and earn a doubleheader split for the John A. Logan College baseball team Saturday against visiting Rend Lake.

The Warriors won the opener, 5-2.

With the split, the nation's 16th-ranked Volunteers still manage to win the series two games to one. They now stand 19-2 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and 33-7 overall. 

The opening-game loss snapped a 12-game win streak for Logan.

Rend Lake moves to 11-10 in the league with the split and is 25-19 overall.

In Game 2, the Vols jumped out on top 2-0 in the first inning as Tyler Robertson doubled and Marshall Gilbert homered.

The lead grew to 3-0 in the second when Cody Birdsong singled and came around to score on Robertson's fielder's choice grounder.

The Warriors pulled within one at 3-2 in the third as Ostin Clark doubled home two runs. 

Logan went up 4-2 in the fourth as Kaletha singled, advanced to second when Robertson was hit by a pitch, moved to third on Doug Parks' single, and when the centerfielder bobbled the ball, broke for home and scored.

Rend Lake's Aiden McMahan singled and eventually scored in the top of the fifth when the Vols' Jeff Hahs dropped a fly in right to make the score 4-3.

That set the stage for Kaletha's dramatics in the bottom of the frame, making the score 7-3. 

"I got a fastball and was fortunate enough to take advantage," Kaletha said. "Today, we didn't hit like we usually do, but it was good to get that win in Game 2. We have to keep playing good baseball if we want to stay ahead of Wabash Valley and win the conference."

The Vols currently hold a two-game lead in the standings.

Tanner Maskey belted a solo homer for the Warriors to begin the sixth, cutting the deficit to three at 7-4.

That roundtripper would chase Logan starter, Jerred Quartier. 

The Vols then negated that run in the bottom of the sixth when Hahs redeemed himself with an RBI single.

Quartier picked up the win. Sophomore Gabe Jelley earned the save with two shutout innings, including two strikeouts. He retired six of the seven batters he faced.

Birdsong paced the offense with three hits. Kaletha and Tyler Horchem had two hits apiece.

In the opener, Rend Lake starter, Justin Hayden, had the Vols off stride all game. He held the high-scoring Logan ballclub to only two runs (one earned) over eight innings on seven hits. 

McMahan pitched out of a jam in the ninth to record the save.

Losing pitcher for Logan was sophomore Bobby Pennington. He went 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He also struck out four and walked two while hitting one.

Hahs was the only Vol to record multiple hits. He went 2-4. Clark had three hits to pace the Warriors.

"This was a big day for us," said Vols head coach Jerry Halstead. "Of course, we would have liked to have had a sweep, but the split allows us to win the series and that's what's important. I never thought we were going to run the table. Early on, we seemed to be going through the motions. Fortunately, things picked up a little in the second game."

Halstead said the Kaletha clout was timely.

"It was huge because we only had a one-run lead at the time and that gave us some cushion. I thought Gabe then did a great job of putting up two more zeroes and closing out the win for us."

Logan hosts Dyersburg State, Tenn. in a non-conference game Tuesday and then opens a three-game series with Southeastern Illinois at Harrisburg on Thursday.