MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Second-ranked Walters State trailed for most of Saturday's home baseball game against Dyersburg State before taking the lead in the late stages of the contest, but a late two-run homer by the visiting Eagles doomed the Senators in an 8-7 loss in the final game of their three-game Tennessee Community College Athletic Association series at Ken Campbell Field.
WSCC trailed 5-1 going to the bottom of the seventh before scoring five in the seventh and another in the eighth to take the lead, but a three-run rally in the ninth by Dyersburg State, including Drew Reckart's homer, ended Walters State's attempt for a sweep.
The loss dropped the Senators to 40-7 on the year and 17-2 in league play. The win moved the Eagles to 30-14 overall and 12-9 in TCCAA play, and it was the 600th career win for Dyersburg State head coach Robert White.
Neither team could get on the board through the first two innings, with both teams turning inning-ending double plays in the opening two frames.
Walters State broke the ice in the home half of the third, as Drew Haynie reached on a two-out single before Jerry Hammons, the hero of Friday's second game of the series with a walk-off home run, tagged an RBI double to bring Haynie home and put the Senators on top 1-0.
The lead didn't last long though, as the Eagles soared back in the fourth inning to take their first lead of the contest. Luis Rodriguez reached on a bunt single before Josh Nellis hammered a two-run homer off the scoreboard to make it a 2-1 Dyersburg State lead.
Walters State only had one base runner in the next two innings, and the Eagles added to the lead in the sixth and chased Senators starting pitcher Kody Davidson in the process. Rodriguez led off the frame with a single before Nellis added a base hit and Will Mangurian drove in a run with a double down the left field line before Blake Petty came on in relief. Nellis scored on a wild pitch from Petty before Gresham Mosley added an RBI single to make it 5-1.
Petty allowed a one-out double and issued a walk in the seventh before Zach Joyce came on in relief and got a fly ball and a strikeout to end the threat with no damage done.
After Seth Wyse had cruised through the first six innings, he was knocked out of the game three batters into the seventh frame. JL Bland and Seth Gardner opened the inning with back-to-back singles before Xavier Arnette hammered his first home run of the season to pull the Senators within a run.
Geraldo Soriano came on in relief of Wyse, and he walked Haynie, who ended up at third after a dropped third strike and a throwing error by the catcher. Haynie was thrown out at the plate on a grounder by Bryce Hodge, but a single by Brayden Combs and a two-run base hit from Braydon Runion put WSCC on top 6-5 after seven innings.
Joyce blew through the side for the Eagles in the eighth, striking out all three batters, and after Bland walked to lead off the bottom of the eighth, Soriano was replaced by Kyle Johnson (1-0) on the hill. Gardner bunted Bland to second before Haynie delivered an RBI double to left to make it 7-5 heading to the ninth inning.
Joyce walked the leadoff batter in the ninth before Gage Gillian entered in relief. Gillian (2-2) allowed an RBI single from Cristian Martin before Reckart clouted a two-run homer to put Dyersburg State back on top, 8-7.
Christian Collazo entered the game on the mound in the ninth for the visitors and worked a perfect frame to close out the win and notch his third save.
The Senators will be back at home Wednesday for a doubleheader against Montreat beginning at 2 p.m.