Freshman pitcher Jalen Rainey led the Rust College baseball team to a series opening victory upsetting HBCU baseball small school No. 5 ranked Talladega College by the score of 9-7 Tuesday on the road. Rust College, that tiny school in Holly Springs, Mississippi has defeated an HBCU ranked team.
Rainey gave the pitching staff a lift on the mound. The left-hander from New Orleans pitched four innings to lead the Bearcats to victory. The win came in his first start in his first collegiate appearance.
Rust College, 2-1 to start the season, played small ball to defeat Talladega, now 2-3 on the season.
Rainey, leaning on his fastball and curve to fill up the strike zone, was in control but never retired the side in order. However, he seldom let Talladega hit the ball hard. With his defense behind him there was never any pressure and the results showed as the defense was indeed stellar.
Rust open the scoring with the game’s first five runs. In the first inning, infielder Jordan Robinson singled up the middle, moved to second base on a sacrifice, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Sieas Elliott for the game’s first run.
Rust would add more runs in the second inning. Freshman Jalen Roach reached third base and scored on a run batted in off the batted ball of Tremaine Callaway to take a 2-0 lead. The Bearcats increased its lead in the third inning. Ahmir Mitchell singled and scored on a base hit by Devon Meachem who advanced to second base on the throw to home plate. Rust led 4-0 after the third inning.
The Bearcats plated two more runs in the fourth inning. Claude Hayes doubled to the fence and scored as both Rayvon Joseph and Robinson base hits made it 6-1. Talladega would get a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning lowering the deficit to 6-3.
All of Rust’s scoring came early in the game, capped with three more runs for a 9-3 lead.
Talladega, ranked 5th in Black College Nines (BCN) 2020 HBCU Baseball Pre-Season Top Ten Polls threatened to made the game close adding four runs in its game one loss.
At the plate for Rust, Hays was two for four, Meachem was two for two, Robinson had two singles in the game, Callaway knock in a run on a bunt single and Elliott had three runs batted in.
Rainey pitched four solid innings aided by a solid defensive effort that kept Talladega at bay. He allowed eight hits, but induced two double plays and recorded five strikeouts for his first win of the season. Right-hander Mitchell pitched a hitless seventh, striking out one to earn the save.
Joseph made a great defensive play fielding a grounder with a backhand flip to record the out ending the game.
Note, the scheduled second game, tied at 7-7, was suspended on account of darkness.