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Baseball

2016-2017 ABAC Stallions Baseball team


Photo by: Sarge Dorsey

Freshman second baseman Justin Russell seen making a play with the throw across his body has really found his groove both offensively and defensively at second base. He now leads the team and the conference with a .438 batting average, including eight doubles, two home runs, and eighteen runs batted in. The next best conference average is .414.

Stallions nest Red Hawks with sweep

By: J. Roy Rowland IV / Sports Correspondent / Tifton Gazette

TIFTON – Things are starting to come together for the ABAC squad as the non-conference part of their schedule is coming to an end. ABAC has rolled in the last six out of the last seven in the win column entering last night’s game against Marion University JV. It has been tough on the Stallions early in the year, previously dropping four in a row but team has finally been able to put all three of the components of the game together and has really showed both on the mound and at the plate.

The Stallions defeated Lake Michigan 10-4 by consistently putting runs on the scoreboard on Friday.

Lake Michigan took an early lead in the first inning on a single on a 0-1 count, scoring two runs.

But ABAC knotted the game up at two in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs in the first inning, Travis Ray drove in one run when he singled.

ABAC would eventually take the lead for good with one run in the third inning. In the third frame, Josh Jackson would hit his league leading fourth homerun, a solo shot way over the fence driving in one run.

In the first game against Lake Michigan, the hosts had 14 hits in the game. Brett Usry, Bryce Shupe, Jackson, Justin Russell, and Ray each collected multiple hits for the Stallions. Shupe and Usry all had three hits to lead the offensive attack on the day.

Josh Jackson’s league leading 5th homerun and strong outing by Preston Sparks leads to Stallions victory over Lake Michigan College.

Preston Sparks got the call on the mound against the RedHawks tossing five innings giving up two earned runs, on four base hits, while fanning six. Cole Garrett pitched two innings given up the other two runs of the contest, while Drew Martens and Tristain Daugherty finish off the game tossing one inning apiece.

Both teams were strong on the mound Saturday, but ABAC outlasted the visitors defeating Southern Union 3-1. All Stallion pitchers combined allowed just eight hits to Southern Union.

The hosts grabbed an early lead on a double in the second inning. Ray doubled on the first pitch of the at bat in the second inning, scoring one run.  Ray and Zane Folsom each drove in one run to lead the team on the day.

Bo Vickers would make the start on the mound pitching the first 3 2/3 innings in game one, giving up one earned run on five scattered hits.

Daugherty improved to 3-1 on the year by tossing 3 innings of scoreless relief and Dalton Rentz earned the save in game one.

Stallions split doubleheader with Southern Union winning game one 3-1 and dropping game two 6-4.

The ABAC Stallions grabbed a lead  in sixth inning for a victory over Lake Michigan as the home team took the lead late and defeated Lake Michigan 9-4 on Monday. The game was tied at four with the hosts at the plate batting in the bottom of the sixth when Usry singled, driving in one run.

The team saddled up in the first and took the the lead in the first inning. With two outs in the first inning Folsom drove in two runs when he doubled.

Lake Michigan evened things up at four in the top of the fifth inning.

In the first game of the doubleheader, ABAC collected 11 hits. Russell and Joel Ellis each collected multiple hits for the home team. Shupe, Ellis, and Folsom each drove in two runs to lead the offensive effort at the plate.

Coming off the win in game one, the Stallions defeated Lake Michigan despite allowing a three run inning when the RedHawks collected three runs in the fourth frame. ABAC captured the lead in the first inning off the bat of Josh Jackson driving in one run for the team.

Lake Michigan would tie the game up at three apiece entering the bottom half of the inning where the hosts matched them with two runs off the bat of Russell where he doubled, driving in one.

In game two of the double, ABAC pounded out eight hits. Ellis and Jackson each collected multiple hits for the Stallions, while Jackson and Ellis each managed two hits to lead the effort.

Stallions earned the sweep over Lake Michigan behind Dalton Rentz’s strong outing and Justin Russell’s four hit day.

ABAC now will post a 10-12 mark on the year, as they returned to the diamond last night for one game against Marion University JV. They will play a two game set at home this afternoon against Brewton Parker JV at 3 PM, before continuing their schedule on the road Friday against South Georgia in Douglas.

It’s busy last two weeks on the schedule for the team, but Russell now leads the conference and team with a .436 batting average, and is second in conference with runs batted in with 18. Jackson leads the conference in dingers with five. Rentz is tied for first with four wins along with East Georgia’s Phillip Phillips, and is behind Phillips in third with a 1.86 ERA. Rentz also has collected 29 strikeouts and is fifth in that category. Daughtry has pitched the Stallions to three wins in relief and is tied for third in wins, behind Rentz with four total.


Photo by: Jodi Shupe

Stallions hitter Justin Russell carried the hot bat in the double header against LaGrange, going 4-for-6, 3 RBIs, 3 runs scored, including a homerun and a double.

 

Stallions stop skid at four with series sweep of LaGrange

By:  J. Roy Rowland IV / Sports Correspondent / Tifton Gazette

TIFTON – Win.

That’s what the ABAC Baseball team hasn’t felt since their last win, which came on the road against State College of Florida by the score of 5-4 over two weeks ago. The last home game that saw a win was nearly the first week of this month with a 7-2 decision against Tallahassee.

Finally after all of the extra work being put in, ABAC was finally able to play all three parts of the game together which produced a two-game sweep this past Monday afternoon over LaGrange College JV with a 9-1 decision in game one, and an 8-2 result in the night cap.

On the rubber, ABAC sent their freshman duo of Dalton Rentz and Blake Howell, to hopefully get the Stallions back in the win column.

Rentz who improved to 3-1 on the year, was again in command form the very start. He started the game striking out two out of the three batters in the first frame.

A couple of errors by LaGrange, and a few hard hit balls at the plate for the Stallion’s offense is what allowed them to jump out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning. Bryce Shupe and Josh Jackson reached base both on the defensive miscues. Joel Ellis was the first Stallion to record a base hit in game one, which scored Jackson to give ABAC an early 1-0 lead. Ray knocked in the only other run of the frame, scoring Ellis. Zane Folsom added the only other hit in the inning smoked right past the pitcher.

LaGrange recorded their first base hit off of Rentz in the next inning with one out, but the defense shined behind him to turn an impressive 5-4-3 double play to get the bats back to the plate.

No offensive mojo happened for either team, as both teams went in and out 1-2-3 for the next three innings, but the Stallion offense came through with one run in the bottom of the fifth.

Stallion leadoff hitter Isiah Arnold got things started after his 3-2 count at the plate was interrupted when he was hit by the pitch. Colby Melton would then put a nicely placed bunt in play that turned on Arnold’s wheels which now put him at third base with one out. Shupe, who still was looking for his first base hit of the contest, connected on the third pitch to center field, a double, which scored Arnold giving ABAC a 3-0 lead.

Two singles in the top inning six, and a perfectly executed sac fly tacked on the first and only run of the opening game for the visitors.

Shupe collected his second hit on the line drive triple clearing the bases, resulting in Hunter Bramlett, Arnold, and Melton scoring.

But the bats continued to be on que as Justin Russell followed hitting the 3-1 pitch way over the left field fence to give ABAC a 8-1 lead with two outs. Jackson didn’t waste any time as he stepped in the box and stepped into one that when it hit the bat everyone knew that ball was out and over the fence in left. Jackson’s homerun would be his fourth, which also took the lead in the conference.

Rentz would pitch six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on four base hits, while fanning six in the game. Tristian Daugherty would pitch the final frame keeping the visitors scoreless, fanning one batter to close out game one for the fifth ABAC win on the year.

The top of the ABAC order including Shupe, Russell, Jackson, and Ellis collected two hits each in the game knocking in eight out of the nine runs total. Shupe lead all hitters knocking in four runs, including a double and a triple. Folsom and Ray would tack on one hit each.

In game two, Howell would pitch ABAC into the fifth before allowing Max Wadsworth and Cole Garrett to secure the 8-2 victory.

ABAC scored one run in the first on a wild pitch, but their first base hit did not come until the third inning by Russell.

LaGrange would tie the game 1-1 in the third inning, but the hosts came back with one of the own to regain a 2-1 lead after three complete.

ABAC scored five runs in the fourth inning. The Stallions scored on a stolen base by Shupe, a double by Russell, a fielder’s choice by Ellis, and an error made by the LaGrange defense.

Howell earned his first collegiate win for Stallions. He tossed four innings, surrendering one run, two hits, and struck out five. Max Wadsworth threw two innings, and Cole Garrett finished off the seventh. Wadsworth struck out five out of six batters he faced, striking out the side in his final inning of work in the sixth.

ABAC gets back on track with the series sweep, and will now turn its attention to Friday as they look to continue positive momentum moving forward against Lake Michigan. First pitch will hit the mitt at 6:00 PM at Stallions Field.


Photo by: Jodi Shupe

Daugherty has been flawless in his last three appearances for the Stallion allowing no runs, and just five hits, while striking out nine.

Daugherty; Stallions seal up win on road

By: J. Roy Rowland IV / Sports Correspondent / Tifton Gazette

TIFTON – The ABAC Baseball squad continued their long road trips to Florida this past weekend as they met the Manatees of State College of Florida for a three game set. ABAC looked to up their overall win total to four, and finally did so in game two, behind another great game on the mound for the pitchers and some timely base hits late in the game to secure a 5-4 win.

ABAC got to work early in the second game of the series as they put the first run on the board. With one out in the inning, Bryce Shupe and Justin Russell turned on the first pitch of their at bat to put them at first and second. Josh Jackson followed and took a quick 0-2 pitch count. On the third pitch he connected and on a ball hit to right field for the second out, however, Shupe tagged from third base on the play as the visitors took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the first.

Blake Howell made his third start for the Stallions, and in the bottom half of the inning ran into a little trouble allowing the hosts to match them with two runs on three hits. It was a strikeout to seventh batter after the run scored that settled him in, and the final out of the inning on a ground ball Jackson at first.

Colby Melton recorded the only base hit of the following inning for the Stallions, as they stalled with only one runner reaching base.

State College of Florida continued to add to their lead in the next two innings scoring one run in each to lead 4-1 entering the fourth.

Due up for the Stallions was the heart of the order, 4-5-6. Jackson looked for his second hit of the game as he stepped to the plate. The count, 1-1 to Jackson and he found the warning track in center field on a pitch that was roped over the head of the outfielder. Travis Ray also reached on a base on balls after a ground ball out. Jackson got around to third base, but the hit to score him to cut into a three run deficit came up empty.

The Manatees started to once again try to plate more runs in the bottom of the fifth on the triple on the first pitch of the frame. But Howell dug deep hit his spots and relied on his defense to make the plays behind him to get out of the inning untouched with one runner left at third base.

In the top of the fifth, ABAC sent its most batters to the plate with nine. Brett Usry and Isaiah Arnold started the attack with back-to-back singles. A one out walk by Russell a short time later loaded the bases for the Stallions. On the third pitch of Russell’s plate appearance the second Stallion run was plated on a wild pitch, 4-2 now your score.

Jackson who had already collected one hit and made the most of his third trip to the plate. Jackson would score Arnold on the base hit past short.

Down by one run 4-3, ABAC took advantage of the opposing pitchers misses to the strike zone to allow Zane Folsom and Brandon Sewell both to reach on walks. That eventually led to the game-tying run being scored on the walk to Sewell, scoring Russell.

For the first time in the game, the swing in momentum went the opposite direction, and all cylinders started to fire and it started with Tristian Daugherty in relief of Howell. Daugherty has pitched just 9 1/3 innings for the Stallions out of the bullpen, but has been a vital part to the Stallions success in the games in which he has pitched. His longest appearance this season came against Tallahassee which was 3 1/3 innings, where he struck out five and just three hits. With the ball turned over to Daugherty in the fifth, he would again set the cruise control early, getting the pitches over the plate allowing his defense to make the plays and held the bats at bay for the hosts in the fifth.

With only ten pitches thrown in the sixth, Daugherty mixed in his first strikeout of the game on the final out.

Head Coach Brandon Reeder stated, “Tristain has been virtually unhittable the last two weeks, and really kept us in the game with another solid outing.”

With one out in the seventh, It was Jackson yet again with another base hit to saddle up the offense in the inning. Folsom would follow Jackson on the bases with an error committed by the third baseman. ABAC would start timing the ball to put the ball on the ground, and Dakota Sloan reached on another ball hit to third base. Sloan reached first, Folsom was on second, and for the second time Jackson stood at third and represented the go-ahead run. Ray was the batter at the plate, 0-for-2 in the game, but his most important at bat came now. Coming off a strikeout Ray didn’t let the pitcher get but one pitch across as he tattooed one in the right-center gap, scoring Jackson. ABAC led 5-4.

Daugherty would deliver in the final inning pitching yet another perfect three innings striking out the final two batters of the game to seal the deal and give ABAC their fourth win.

Making the most of the opportunities with runners in scoring position, and a couple clutch hits with two outs was the difference in game two.

Howell finished pitched four innings, and would take a no decision on the day.

Daugherty would collect his second win on the year improving to 2-1. In his last three games, just under eight innings, and hasn’t allowed a run. Mix in twelve strikeouts and some scattered hits, which gives him a 1.93 ERA, which is right behind Rentz’s 1.63.

ABAC would again be on the road today against Wallace Community College in Dothan, Alabama at 3:00 PM, and will be in Phenix City, Alabama Saturday against CVCC at 2:00 PM.


 


Photo by: Jodi Shupe

Isaiah Arnold slides into home plate for the first run of the game in the first inning against the Eagles, off the bat of Justin Russell.

Stallions notch second win of the year against Tallahassee CC

By: J. Roy Rowland IV / Sports Correspondent / Tifton Gazette

TIFTON- For the Stallions this past week, they have continued to play their brand of baseball, and continued to get better day in and day out. Although the results of their play sometimes went against their record, the last two games play have built positive momentum moving forward. Coming off a win on the road against Santa Fe Friday afternoon behind yet again another strong performance on the mound by Dalton Rentz, ABAC turned to another right-handed freshman to continue to continue to give the Stallions a chance for another win.

This time the offense put on a showing to back the great defensive effort on the mound and in the field.

Offensively the Stallion team two hits by Isaiah Arnold and a swing of the bat of Justin Russell gave the hosts an early 1-0 lead after one complete.

Blake Howell made his second start on the year and got to work early as he received the first ball on the ground where he fielded and fired to Josh Jackson at first. Another groundball and Howell’s first strikeout of the game retired the side in the first.

The Eagles offense also got started early, when runners reached first and second base where they later scored two runs on two hits that gave them a one run cushion, 2-1, headed into the bottom half of the inning.

However, ABAC couldn’t match their runs on the board as they went 1-2-3.

A single led off the third for the Eagles, but Howell got two outs on fly balls to right and center field to follow. The final play was a chopper to third where Travis Ray came up firing across the diamond to Jackson for the final out of the inning.

ABAC finally gave Howell a little more run support in the third as Arnold was HBP with one out. He wouldn’t be on first long, with a few miscues in the field, he moved all the way around to third and gave the home team a chance to score the tying run.  Bryce Shupe put the ball on the ground on the next play where Arnold would plate the tying run on the board.

With the score tied at two, Howell cruised through the fourth given up only a few scattered hits. ABAC would stay off the basepaths with only one base knock in the frame coming off the bat of Ray. The Stallions had runners in scoring position yet again but a ground ball back to the pitcher retired the order with the score the same.

Again no runs came across for the Stallions in the inning, where the ball was given back to Howell on the mound to start the fifth. He would get the first out on the groundball to Ray at third base, but would give up a base hit and walk to put the go ahead run in scoring position at second base. Tristain Daugherty where he would get a double play ball on the clay to get the Stallions back swinging.

Shupe started the inning with a double mashed to right, and the Stallions would regain the lead as Shupe would score the third run after the first double by Russell.

In the bottom half of the inning, Daugherty would hit the first batter, but would help his own cause by fanning two out of three batters to retire the side.

Two walks to the Stallions would lead to two more runs on the board on one big swing of the bat by Arnold. Bramlett and Brandon Sewell walked, and end up on second and third on a ball that got past the catcher, which scored the go ahead runs. ABAC now led 5-2.

The runs plated weren’t enough as Russell as he knocked his second double on the afternoon scoring the fifth run of the game giving the Stallions a 6-2 lead.

Daugherty would get back to work in the next inning striking out another batter, where he had five strikeouts through his third innings of work. Drew Martens will relieve Daugherty with two outs in the eighth to record the final out on a ground ball.

One more run touched home plate for the Stallions in the bottom half of the eighth frame. Hunter Bramlett led off the inning reaching first base on a Tallahassee fielding error, and later went to second on the play. Arnold would sacrifice bunt in his at-bat on the following play which would bring Shupe to the plate with one out. Shupe would be first pitch swinging hitting the ball to deep left, scoring Bramlett on the tag. Jackson would be the final hit of the game for the Stallions before Martens came in to finish off the game in the ninth.

Martens allowed the Eagles to put runners on board early in the ninth with a walk to start followed by a single. A little help from the defense followed with a huge double play effort, however. Another base on balls would put yet another runner on the bases, but Martens would come back with a strikeout on the 2-2 pitch to end the game.

ABAC rolls in their second win in two days, and now holds a record of 3-4 heading into their next home game Tuesday against Wallace-Dothan at 3PM.


 
Dalton Rentz has picked up both wins on the mound for the Stallions. He has been impressive in his first two starts as he has pitched 12 1/3 innings, three runs, two earned, seven hits, and has sat down nine on strikes.

Rentz pitches Stallions to second win on the year on the road

By: J. Roy Rowland IV / Sports Correspondent / Tifton Gazette

Gainesville, Florida – The tough stretch of games to open the season hasn’t boasted a very good record for the Stallion baseballers, but one thing is for sure they will use these games to build upon. After another lengthy road trip, dropping their last four games, ABAC looked to redeem themselves on their third road trip on the year. It didn’t start out offensively very good, but another impressive start by Dalton Rentz kept them in the game. Before long the Stallions finally broke loose and the hits started to lead to runs late in the game to help boost them to a 7-2 win.

In the last start for Rentz he tossed a one-hit gem, pitching the Stallions to their first win in the home opener against St. John’s. This game against Santa Fe this past Friday wasn’t any different. When the offense just wasn’t there, defensively the team got ahead in the count and played a sound game to ensure the bats that they needed to spark.

Hits were limited for the beginning half of the game for the Stallions. So limited that the visitors had to take advantage of some Viking miscues to move around the bases.

Justin Russell started the runners with two outs in the first, and Josh Jackson joined him after four straight balls to put runners at first and second. But a ground ball ended the early chance of putting a run on the board for the Stallions.

Russell also made the first out of the game on a popup, and Rentz helped out his own cause on a line out, but the first hit of the contest came a batter later. Santa Fe wasn’t done as they added another runner on the bases on a base hit, but that was the only highlight as the Stallions retired the side.

ABAC went through the first five innings of the game, cylinders misfired, and early on didn’t seem that they would ever get the bats in tune with the performance of Rentz and the defense.

Santa Fe led off the third inning with a bang with the bottom half of the order due up in the third frame. A single to start the frame and a double led to the first run of the game for the home team as they took a 1-0 lead after three complete. Rentz recorded two out of the three outs on strikes in the inning.

Both Jackson and Rentz made work of the hosts in the next inning, as the first out was recorded on a groundball back to Rentz, where he flipped it to Jackson for the first out. Rentz second strikeout came on the next out. The final out was a groundball him to Jackson at first base, where he took it himself to try to ignite the offense in the next inning.

Head Coach Brandon Reeder mentioned, “We are playing very good defense making the routine plays. It can sure ease a pitchers mind to know that the defense is on point behind them.”

That’s exactly what happened.

Jackson hit the first pitch of his at-bat down the third base line. On the next play, Joel Ellis would give himself up on the bunt which advanced Jackson to second base. With a runner in scoring position again, ABAC had its second opportunity to score a run. But again came up empty and Santa Fe still led by the score of 1-0.

Both teams were held off the board in the fifth inning.

Entering the sixth, Bryce Shupe took advantage of the second Viking mistake to reach first and would later go to second on a Russell sac bunt. Familiar situation with one out and a runner in scoring position as the second out was recorded on a popup. Ellis would reach base for the second time on the walk to put runners for the third time in scoring position.

Third time was the charm. Brett Usry connected on the pitch that drove in the tying run, scoring Shupe from third. Travis Ray also showed that he could connect as he plated Ellis on one swing of the bat giving the visitors their first lead, 2-1 after six innings.

Shupe, Russell hit singles, and Jackson hit his 3-2 pitch to cross the third Stallion run of the contest. ABAC now led by two, 3-1, with the middle half of the lineup due up for the Vikings in the seventh.

Rentz third and final strikeout came to record the first out. After the strikeout, one run was tacked on for Santa Fe on a gapper that hit the outfield fence. Stallion lead is back to one run.

“Dalton was in command again today, and he cruised through the middle innings.” Reeder stated.

But ABAC would match the home team with a run of their own and never looked back. Ray led off the inning, hit a liner down the first base side, and stretched it all the way into third. Ray would have enough time to brush himself off to get back up and score on the third pass ball by the Vikings.

Leading 4-2, Isaiah Arnold struggled in his first three plate appearances striking out twice. His next swing was his best yet and used all of the line around third base to record a hit and score the fifth run.

Two more runs would light up for the Stallions offense.

 

Bo Vickers who last started against St. Johns in the final game of the series, pitched five strong innings. This time his role was to close it out and keep them off the board in relief of Rentz. There wasn’t any question of that as he struck out batter one. He would go on to pitch the final two innings of play, and seal the second win on the year.

Rentz finished the game pitched seven innings, two runs, 1 earned, on six scattered hits.

Stallions returned to action yesterday against Tallahassee CC, and their next game will be this coming Wednesday at home against Wallace-Dothan. Game time is scheduled for a 3:00 first pitch.

 

Stallions to regroup and remain positive after road loss

By: J. Roy Rowland IV / Sports Correspondent / Tifton Gazette

Tifton – Through the first five games on the year, ABAC has only pulled away with only one win which came in the season opener. As the record may not favor a lot of wins, it doesn’t take away from the quality of how they have play each game.

As for the five games, they have played two of the best ball clubs in the Sunshine State to start the year. In the coming games, it does not get any easier as they are on the road again today in Gainesville, Florida against Santa Fe College, and will return back to Stallions Field Saturday against Tallahassee Community College. But in order for you to be the best, you have to play the best, and that is what they will continue to do.

Dating back to this time last year with the schedule being very similar, ABAC spilt with the Vikings to start the year, but skidded to a 2-7 mark through the first week of February. A slow start for the Stallions but in the coming months you would see that through a stretch of eleven game, they won nine.

This team has not really swung the bats, but there are bright spots all over the line up. Ones that return from last year and a group of talented incoming freshman players that make up the dynamics of what can be something special come conference play.

Offensively, Josh Jackson leads all batters with a .353 batting average, and has torn the cover off the baseball as he has went yard three times. Jackson has also knocked in five runs which is also a team best entering today’s game. Behind him there are hitters like Justin Russell, Travis Ray, Bran Davis, and Brett Ursey, and Bryce Shupe that can help boost this dangerous line-up.

On the mound, ABAC has seen great starts from freshman Dalton Rentz, Blake Howell, and Bo Vickers. Only one win to their credit but the trio has pitched against two tough opponents, and each start has shown great poise and composure early in the year.

If there is any indication of how really good this team could be would how they play against the first stint of the schedule before conference play opens up in the middle of March against South Georgia. As for now, there are a lot of great things happening on the field but only time will tell before that play a complete game and put all the pieces together.


Josh Jackson stretches for catch against St. John’s River in the season opener at Stallions Field. Jackson has had the hot bat for ABAC as he had three homeruns in the first four games for the Stallions.

Stallions takes one in opening series against St. John’s

By: J. Roy Rowland IV / Sports Correspondent / Tifton Gazette

TIFTON – The Stallions holds the target on their back ranked 18th nationally in the preseason NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association poll. After a year that posted a 26-29 finish, and ended on a four-game losing streak, the 2017 edition of the Stallions however started off on a strong note in the season opener against St. John’s River State College.

Dalton Rentz got the nod in the series opener against the Vikings club, and kept the bats in check through the first inning as he struck out two out of three hitters to start the 2017 campaign for the Stallions ball club.

In the bottom half of the inning, Bryce Shupe lead the Stallions with .349 average a season ago and was quick to record the first base hit of the season on the fourth pitch to saddle up the offense. The host’s took some quality swings but one hit was all they could come up with as the inning came to a close.

Rentz walked the first batter of inning two, but later caught him napping at first to clear the bases. Two fly balls later, and the Stallions were back swinging at the plate in the bottom half of the inning.

The second hit of the contest for the home team came off the bat of freshman Travis Ray. He took the first two pitches of his at-bat, but belted a line drive to center field to once again get something started on the bases. A ground ball on the following play forced Ray out at second, but ABAC still had a runner on the paths. Dakota Sloan walked on his plate appearance to put runners at first and second with one out. Again the Vikings continued to fall behind in the count, which now allowed the Stallions to load up on the bases on the second walk of the inning to Joel Ellis. Hunter Bramlett would then get beamed with the count two balls and two strikes, which would allow the Stallions to plate the first run of the game in the bottom half of the second inning.

Rentz continued to keep the bats at bay, as the visitors went 1-2-3 in the top half of the third inning. In the inning, he would record his second strikeout of the contest.

The third and final hit of the game would come of the bat of Josh Jackson with one out in the third frame. Jackson’s last homerun came in the fourth inning deep to center against Andrew College on March 15th in a game that featured five home runs, and 23 hits. Well as for the fifth pitch for Jackson it didn’t take long to leave the park and give ABAC a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth.

Reeder stated on Jackson’s bat, “Josh is doing damage right now. He is going to be an integral part of our lineup moving forward. We need the bats around him to heat up so he can continue to see pitches he can hit.”

Again nothing went right for the St. John’s at the plate, as another 1-2-3 inning brought the Stallion offense back to the plate. Rentz added another strikeout in the inning, and got the Stallions offense back to the plate but this time came up empty on the bases as the scored remained 2-0 entering the fifth inning.

Some positive momentum swung in the Vikings favor as they finally notched their first base hit of the contest after a leadoff walk to start the frame. A single on a hard ground ball to Shupe in center field would put runners at the corners. With no outs in the inning, Rentz would give up his only run on a deep sacrifice fly on the next play but the poise on the mound remained as he would come back and strike out the final two batters of the inning. ABAC would continue to hold a slim one run lead 2-1.

No other offense would highlight the game for either team, as Drew Martens would come in and pick up where Rentz left off to record the final two outs of the sixth and the first out in the seventh. Martens would record his first collegiate strikeout after giving up the second Viking base hit in the seventh. Chan Hyman followed Martens next, to record a pop up and ground out to Jackson to end the game and give ABAC it’s first win of the season.

Rentz finished his debut for the Stallions pitching 5 1/3 innings, giving up the one run on one base hit, while fanning six.

In game two on Friday, ABAC jumped out with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning as starter Blake Howell kept the opposing team off the board. With one out in the inning, Bran Davis walked and Colby Melton reached on an error to put runners at the corners where Shupe would sacrifice fly to score Davis. Justin Russell would single which would plate Melton for the second run.

St. John’s finally got on the board in the fifth crossing three runs to take their first lead, but the Stallions were relentless and matched the Vikings with two to regain a one run lead 4-3 after five complete.

The Vikings would plate two in the sixth, and five in the seventh to split the day as they won by the score of 10-4.

Two days later, and a long bus ride to Florida the two teams met again for the final two games. In the third game, ABAC put the first run on the board in the first, but defensively it didn’t start well for the Stallions on the mound as the Vikings picked up right where they left off in game two. Four runs and seven base hits was how it started, where they would plate two in the second, one in the third, four in the fourth, and one in the fifth.

The only other Stallion runs came off the bat of Jackson, where again he muscled one over the fence, his second on the day. Russell singled a batter prior and also scored.

With one game left to play in the series, ABAC looked to even up the series, but came up just short on a walk off by the visitors in the bottom of the seventh. Trailing 2-1 after four complete, ABAC crossed two runs to hold the one run lead, but the Vikings were on the right end of result.

Jackson highlighted the offense in the series sending three homeruns.

Former Tiftarea Panther Bo Vickers pitched five innings giving up only two runs, one earned, on five hits, and struck out five.

Reeder had this to say about the freshman pitching trio after the four game set, ““I was really pleased with how my 3 freshmen starting pitchers competed against, what is most likely to be, the best lineup we will see all year. Rentz had them completely off balance on opening day and I think our other starting pitchers saw that and understood how to get them out. Bo really had a gutsy performance at their place. He kept us in it and pitched out of some big jams.”

Reeder also added, “I told our guys that’s the most talented team you’ll play all year. One thing that I learned, our starting pitching isn’t going to give in to anybody and I can send them out against the best in the country and we are going to have a shot.

ABAC was on the road against Tallahassee CC yesterday afternoon, and will play Santa Fe on Friday in Gaineville, Florida. They will return home Saturday against TCC. Game time is set for 2:00.


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