SPARTANBURG, S.C. — No. 1 ranked Walters State saw a pair of winning streaks come to an end Wednesday evening as the Senators split a road doubleheader at Spartanburg Methodist.
A day after being ranked as the top team in the country, Walters State won the opening game, 9-4, to extend its winning streak to 15 games before seeing that streak snapped as well as a 26-game March winning streak halted in a 6-5 loss in the nightcap with the Pioneers winning in walk-off fashion.
With the split, the Senators now stand at 17-4 on the year after suffering their first loss in the month of March since March 31, 2017. WSCC had gone 19-0 in March last season and was 7-0 this year after the opening win on Wednesday.
The Pioneers, who had a five-game home winning streak come to an end in the opener, are now 11-8 on the year. The win in the finale also ended a six-game losing skid against the Senators, as it was their first win in the series since March 29, 2016.
In the opener, the Senators belted 12 hits, led by Michael Robinson with three hits, including his first collegiate home run. JL Bland added a pair of doubles, while Mason Streater had two hits with a double in the win. Bryce Hodge and Brayden Combs both doubled, while Xavier Arnette, Jerry Hammons and Drew Haynie each tallied a single. Robinson driven three runs, while Bland and Streater had a pair of RBIs apiece in the contest.
Alex Haynes (3-2) picked up the win and was nearly unhittable in his outing. The sophomore allowed one earned run on one hit, a Houston Wright solo home run in the fourth inning, while striking out seven batters and not allowing another Pioneer to reach base in his five innings of work. Blake Petty tossed a perfect sixth inning before Zach Joyce allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits in the seventh to close the game.
Wright had two hits with his round tripper to pace the home team, while John Miller tagged a double and Ward Hacklen added a single in the loss. Walt Thomas (0-2) was saddled with the defeat after giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.
The Senators jumped on top 2-0 in the first inning by loading the bases with no outs and scoring on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly by Combs. The lead doubled to 4-0 in the third on a two-run homer by Robinson.
Wright's long ball in the bottom of the fourth pulled the Pioneers within three runs, but WSCC got it back in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Bland, and the Senators added four more insurance runs in the sixth. Combs tagged an RBI double before Robinson added an RBI single and Bland brought home two runs with a two-bagger for the final runs of the game for Walters State.
Spartanburg Methodist pushed across three runs in the bottom of the seventh to make the final score respectable.
The Pioneers carried that late inning momentum into the second game, as they broke open a scoreless game with three runs in the third inning of the nightcap to take the lead. WSCC responded with four runs in the fifth to take its only lead of the game, but the home team scored a pair to reclaim a 5-4 lead.
The Senators pushed across a run in the sixth to knot the score, and it remained that way until Hacklen drove in the winning run with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
Hammons and Braydon Runion had two hits with a double apiece for Walters State in the nightcap, and Combs added a two-bagger in the contest. Hodge, Robinson, Silas Butler and Max Riemer each added a single in the loss. Combs drove in two runs, while Hammons, Runion and Robinson each tacked on an RBI.
Gage Gillian (1-1) took the loss in relief, allowing an earned run on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Bibb Hubbard surrendered three earned runs on two hits with seven punchouts and two walks in three innings as the starter, while Zebby Matthews gave up a hit and struck out three in an inning and Andrew Lindsey gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits in a third of an inning.
Miller tagged three hits and drove in a pair of runs in the win, while Wright added two hits with a double and two RBIs and Tristen Shea had two hits with a run driven in. Chandler Brooks (2-0) took the win in relief after giving up an earned run on one hit in 2 1/3 innings. Charles Schaum allowed four earned runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings after drawing the start for the Pioneers.
The Senators return to Tennessee Community College Athletic Association play this weekend with a three-game road series against Southwest Tennessee on the road. The series begins Friday at 3 p.m. with a nine-inning game at USA Stadium in Millington before the two teams play a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.