The two game series between Black College Nines’ HBCU Preseason Small School No.1 Talladega College and NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Preseason No.13 Tennessee Wesleyan University came in the form of a doubleheader. The Tornados came into the day looking to do what they like the best… playing top ranked teams and head coach Marcos Dominguez will tell you “that is the way we like it.”
Tennessee Wesleyan took the first game of the two-game series 1-0 in one of the hardest fought pitching duels thus far in the young collegiate baseball season. Talladega’s Julian Fitts and the Bulldogs’ Carson Bach, both aces of their respective staffs, fought “tooth and nails” as no runs scored through the games first six innings all knotted up at 0-0.
Coming into the game, Fitts had won his previous outing a 3-2 win against GCAC conference opponent Tougaloo College this past February 3 picking up his first win of the season. Making his second start entering the game, Fitts, 1-0 with a 2.57 earned run average, recorded 10 strikeouts.
Fitts threw 84 pitches, faced 21 batters, struck out 12, walked 1, gave up 1 earned run, allowed 1 hit in 7.0 innings pitched. He threw a complete game one hitter in the 1-0 loss. His only blemish was Tennessee Wesleyan Chris Baetzel’s homerun to left-center on a 2-1 count in the top of the six inning.
In Game 2, Talladega wasted no chances scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Jorge Rodriquez was hit by a pitch, Wilkin Louis singled to right, Rodriquez advanced to second. On the next batted ball, Rodriquez advanced to third, Louis advanced to second. Emilio Martinez flied out to the second basemen. Next batter Anthony Ruiz hit a 3 run home run to left-center on a 1-1 count. The Tornados plated an additional run in the inning on two Tennessee Wesleyan back to back errors as Talladega Cameron Davis and Gustavo Castellano reached base, advance on a double steal. The bases soon became loaded which resulted in Manuel Caballano being hit by a pitch, Davis scored. Anthony Rodriquez reached on a walk. Jorge Rodriquez batting for the second time in the inning grounded out to first. Inning Summary: Talladega 4 runs, 2 hits, 2 errors, 3 left on base.
Tennessee Wesleyan would plate a run in the top of the second inning making it a 4-1 ballgame. Talladega would extend the lead in the fourth inning. With runners on 2nd and 3rd base, Wilkin Louis hit a sacrifice fly to center for a 5-1 lead. The Bulldogs brought one run across home plate at the top of the six inning to cut the lead to three, making the score 5-2 before Talladega added another for the 6-2 win.
Talladega’s Bryan Garcia started on the mound and was relieved by Daniel Castillo and Bryan Marquez. Combined they threw 7 innings, allowed 3 hit, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 1 homerun with 9 strike outs. Castillo picked up the win and Marquez the save.
These two teams will meet again March 20 in Athens, Tennessee.