SUMTER, S.C. — Second-ranked Walters State grabbed a pair of wins Saturday evening on the opening day of the University of South Carolina Sumter Invitational at Riley Park, defeating Florida State College-Jacksonville in the opening game and perennial national powerhouse Potomac State of West Virginia in the nightcap.
In the opener, the Senators trailed 3-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning before scoring three runs to tie it and winning on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Michael Robinson in a 4-3 win over FSCJ. In the second tilt, WSCC scored four runs in the third and never trailed in an 8-3 victory over the Catamounts.
With the sweep, the Senators now stand at 9-3 on the year. The losses dropped FSCJ to 9-10 on the campaign and evened Potomac State's record at 1-1.
In the first game of the evening, Walters State trailed 2-0 after three innings and 5-0 heading the home half of the fifth before rallying. Bryce Hodge reached on a one-out error to get the ball rolling for the Senators, and Mason Streater struck out but reached base on an error by the catcher. Austin Bibb followed with an RBI single, and JL Bland later drove in a pair with a base hit to tie it at 3.
The score remained tied into the bottom of the seventh, when Streater led off by being hit by a pitch. Brayden Combs singled on a bunt, and both runners moved up a base on a grounder by Silas Butler. After Bland was intentionally walked to load the bases, Robinson hit a fly ball to center, scoring pinch runner Kody Davidson with the winning run.
Robinson's double was the lone extra-base hit for the Senators in the win, as he had two hits in the contest, while Hodge, Bibb, Combs, Butler and Bland each added a single.
In the finale, Brayden Runion clobbered a two-run homer, while Bibb and Jerry Hammons both added a double in a 10-hit attack for the Senators. Hammons and Robinson both had two hits in the win, with Runion and Streater both driving in a pair of runs and Butler and Bibb both supplying and RBI in the contest.
Corey Stone (3-0) took the win after going nearly the distance, as he tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits with seven strikeouts. Bubba Hubbard faced three batters before getting the final out to end the game.
Hammons doubled with one out in the third, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Streater. Bibb followed with an RBI double, plating Hodge, who had walked earlier in the inning. Runion then tattooed a two-run moon ball for his third round tripper of the season and a 4-0 WSCC lead.
Butler drove in a run in the fourth with an RBI single to increase the lead to 5-0 before the Catamounts got a run back in the fifth. Drew Haynie scored on an error in the sixth for the Senators, while Butler plated a run on a grounder and Streater had an RBI single to make it 8-1.
Potomac State scored two runs in the seventh before Hubbard shut the door on the comeback attempt with a strikeout to end the game.
The Senators will close their Palmetto State trip with a pair of games Sunday against South Carolina teams, as Walters State will face Florence-Darlington Tech in the opener at 12:30 p.m. before closing with the host Fire Ants at 3 p.m.