The Tornadoes now hold a 30-19 record heading into the postseason next week. It is the best record the team has posted in the short three-year tenure of head coach Wilberto Ramos.
“Our offense really came along,” said senior Jesse Sharbutt. “We really hope that momentum carries over to the tournament. We’ve prepared all week for it and tried to use today as a warm-up game. We came out and destroyed the ball like we’re supposed to. I’m glad Talladega College was the place I ended my career and they welcomed me with open arms all the way through. The whole experience for me has been amazing.”
TC honored Sharbutt and the other two seniors — Jose Sosa and Richard Cochran — before the doubleheader began.
Talladega College put up eight runs in five innings to shutout Tennessee Temple 8-0 in Game 1.
The Tornadoes put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning.
Chase Benfield scored the first run from third base off a throwing error to second, putting TC up 1-0. Moments later, the Tornadoes took a 2-0 lead when Nelson Pacheco batted in Jean Ortiz with a single.
Ortiz scored the game’s third run in the third inning on a fielder’s choice.
Jesse Sharbutt’s near-homer advanced him to second, and scored Jamison Cook in the fourth, increasing the TC lead to 4-0.
In the fifth, the Tornadoes continued to add runs little by little. Benfield batted in Sharbutt with a double to make it 5-0. A sacrifice fly ball from Christopher Castillo allowed Pacheco to give TC a 6-0 lead. Benfield got his second RBI of the game when he batted in Cook, and Ramon Cruz knocked in Sharbutt for the final run of the game, bringing the score to 8-0.
Rodrekius Wright got the win on the mound for TC, pitching five and one-third innings. He gave up two hits and struck out eight.
“Wright had a good outing today, he’s been pitching pretty well the last three or four games, and our bats came alive,” Ramos said. “We hadn’t played since Saturday so it was good to come in and be strong and get this win. We’re getting ready for the tournament, so last week we spent time on defensive plays and how we’re going to approach the tournament and we decided to use them today. I’m very happy, I feel very good about it.”
Kameron Mizzell pitched the last one and two-third innings, striking out three of the five batters he faced.
Benfield was 2-for-3 with two hits, two RBIs and a run scored, while Pacheco finished 2-for-4 with one RBI and a run scored.
For Tennessee Temple, Ryan Bruce and Andrew Abee were both 1-for-3. Losing pitcher Zack Duncan threw six innings and gave up eight hits and eight runs (three earned) while striking out five.
In Game 2, Tennessee Temple jumped out to a 2-0 in the top of the first inning.
Castillo’s double in the second inning turned the tables, as Cochran, Cook and Sharbutt all scored to give the Tornadoes a 3-2 lead. Later in the inning Sharbutt came around when Ramon Cruz reached first on an error, bringing the TC lead to 4-2.
A wild pitch from Ryan Pettus allowed Cory Rhinehart to score from third, as the Crusaders cut the lead to 4-3 in the third. Robert Vipond tied things up when he came home moments later.
Talladega College responded with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to regain the lead. Benfield’s double batted in Sharbutt, bringing the score to 5-4. A single from the next batter, Cruz, brought Castillo home.
A key triple from Jorge Santiago gave TC a four-run lead, scoring Benfield and Cruz on the play. Jose Sosa batted in pinch runner Kasey Ray to make it 9-4.
Tennessee Temple to made a pitching change, but one more run came in when Cook batted in Sosa with a single.
Colby Cox and Vipond both scored on singles from Abee and Jamie Holt in the fifth as the Crusaders cut the lead to 10-6.
A double from Sosa to put the nail in the coffin as TC scored three runs on the play to take a 12-6 lead in the fifth.
Four more runs came in for TC, and the game was called in five innings.
Ryan Pettus got the win for Talladega on the mound.
TC now looks ahead to Wednesday’s postseason game against Houston Victoria at 2 p.m.
“They do have good pitching we have better offense than they do,” Ramos said. “I think we’ll be ready.”
Ortiz, who leads the conference with a .430 batting average, will be relied on to get the ball in play for TC. Ramos also said he expects a lot out of Jimmie Rodriquez, who leads the conference with a 1.92 earned run average.
Contact Wesley Sinor at firstname.lastname@example.org.