MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Top-ranked Walters State completed a weekend Tennessee Community College Athletic Association series sweep of Southwest Tennessee Saturday afternoon at USA Stadium with a pair of lopsided wins.
The opener was tight throughout until a seven-run outburst in the seventh inning allowed Walters State to put the home team away, 12-5. The nightcap saw the Saluqis lead 1-0 through three innings, but another seven-run inning in the fifth frame allowed the Senators to pull out a 9-1 victory for a sweep, its 80th TCCAA series sweep in 141 conference series played since the 2004 season.
The wins pushed Walters State to 20-4 on the year and 7-0 in TCCAA play, as the Senators have won 17 of their last 18 games overall and in TCCAA action dating back to last season, including a 15-game conference winning streak. It was also the 16th straight win against Southwest Tennessee and the 32nd win in the last 34 meetings with the Saluqis.
The losses dropped Southwest Tennessee to 9-16 overall and 1-8 in league play, as the Saluqis are now just 7-10 at home this season.
In the opener, Corey Stone went 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (one earned) on seven hits to get the win and improve to 6-0 on the year. Gage Gillian entered the game with the Senators leading 6-4 and retired all four batters he faced, including three strikeouts, to notch his second save of the year.
Bryce Hodge had three hits, including his fifth homer of the year, and drove in four runs to lead WSCC at the dish, while JL Bland added a triple and a double with two RBIs and Jerry Hammons had two hits with a double. Xavier Arnette, Braydon Runion, Brayden Combs, Michael Robinson and Silas Butler each added a hit, with Arnette, Runion, Butler and Alex Bibb driving in a run and Drew Haynie plating two runs in the win.
Nate Pianto (0-2) took the loss after giving up an earned run on a hit in two-thirds of an inning. Jarrett Fowlkes had two hits in the defeat.
WSCC trailed 1-0 after one but scored four in the second and took a 4-2 lead after that frame. Southwest tied it at 4 after four innings before the Senators took the lead with a run in the fifth and scored seven in the sixth to get the win.
In the nightcap, Kody Davidson (4-0) allowed just one earned run on five hits with five strikeouts in five innings to get the win. Andrew Lindsey and Blake Petty both tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
Hodge had another big game, this time smacking three hits with a double and driving in three runs in the win. Hammons and Runion both added two hits, with Hammons collecting a double and knocking in a run. Combs had a double and drove in a pair, while Jake Jennings, Haynie and Arnette each had a base hit, with Haynie, Jennings and Max Riemer all adding an RBI.
Nick Johnson (2-1) was saddled with the defeat after giving up three earned runs on five hits in four-plus innings. Chris Swanberg had three hits and Fowlkes doubled in the loss.
Southwest led 1-0 after three innings before Walters State tied it in the fourth and took an 8-1 lead after five innings with a seven-run explosion. The Senators added a run in the seventh to seal the win.
Walters State will be back on the road Tuesday for a doubleheader at Bryan College in Dayton, beginning at 3 p.m., and a single game on Wednesday at Montreat in North Carolina, beginning at noon.