MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Jerry Hammons notched three hits and drove in three runs, but none were bigger than his last swing of the bat Friday evening.
The freshman from Farragut sent an offering from Dyersburg State reliever Christian Collazo deep over the centerfield wall to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning in the nightcap of a Tennessee Community College Athletic Association doubleheader, lifting the Senators to a sweep of the Eagles in the opening two games of the three-game set.
The walk-off blast capped a 3-2 victory for the Senators, as they trailed 2-0 after one inning and did not allow another run in the nine-inning contest. Walters State had little trouble in the opener, rolling to a 10-0 victory in five innings.
With the twinbill sweep, the Senators improved to 40-6 overall and 17-1 in TCCAA play, keeping them three games clear of second place Motlow State and moving them six games clear of third place Cleveland State in the standings. The sweep also clinched the 18th 40-win season in the last 19 campaigns.
The losses dropped the Eagles to 29-14 on the year and 11-9 in league action, as they slipped to fifth place in the TCCAA ledger.
The opening game was over after two innings with the way Alex Haynes pitched, as the sophomore struck out seven batters and gave up two hits in five innings of work. He was staked to a 5-0 lead in the second frame, got four more runs in the third and another in the fourth before closing out the game in the fifth by the mercy rule to improve to 7-2 on the season.
Braydon Runion, Drew Haynie and Michael Robinson each had two hits in the win, while Brayden Combs and JL Bland both doubled. Runion blasted his sixth homer of the campaign in the victory while driving in three runs, while Robinson added three RBIs and Hammons and Haynie both knocked in a pair in the contest.
Cristian Martin and Evan Gillian both had a single in the loss. Korey Wasson (3-4) allowed seven earned runs on five hits in two innings of work. Bryson Lonsbury pitched two innings in relief, giving up three earned runs on five hits.
After a scoreless first inning, the Senators provided Haynes with all the run support he would need in the second inning in taking control. Robinson drove in a pair of runs with a base hit before Haynie added an RBI single and Hammons poked a two-run base hit as well for a 5-0 lead.
Haynes only allowed one hit and there base runners the rest of the way, and the lead jumped to 9-0 in the third on a two-run blast from Runion and RBI singles from Robinson and Haynie. Runion capped the scoring with an RBI single in the fourth to push the lead to double figures.
Haynie, Hammons and Bryce Hodge each had two hits in the second game, with Hammons notching his ninth round tripper and Haynie going deep for the second time this year. Robinson added a double in the win. Jacob Jennings had the other RBI for the Senators in the win.
Corey Stone went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on just one hit while fanning five and walking three. Gage Gillian worked 3 1/3 innings, giving up just one hit as well and striking out five while facing the minimum to get the win and move to 2-1. The Walters State pitching staff combined to toss 14 innings, allowing just four hits, two runs and notched 17 strikeouts in the sweep.
Gillian and Luis Rodriguez both had a hit in the loss, with Rodriguez's knock being a two-bagger. Jonathan Alexander allowed two earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings before Collazo entered and wen the rest of the way. The Chipola transfer gave up four hits in 3 2/3 innings, but the lone run he allowed was the game-winner.
The Eagles scored a pair of runs in the first inning on an error and a sacrifice fly from Drew Reckart, and they only had two runners left on base the rest of the game against Stone and Gillian.
Walters State picked away at the lead, getting a leadoff home run from Haynie in the third to slice the deficit in half before tying it in the fifth inning on a pinch-hit RBI single from Jennings. The game remained tied into extra innings, and Hammons provided the fireworks with a monstrous blast over the 20-plus foot high wall in centerfield for the win.
The two teams will meet Saturday in the final game of the series at noon. Prior to the game, the baseball program will be naming the bullpen adjacent to the Walters State dugout down the third base line after former WSCC player and coach Joey Seaver. The ceremony is scheduled for 11:40 a.m., with Seaver's children to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.