Toccoa Falls baseball opened its 2016 season under first-year head coach Nate Bowen with a three game series at Southern Wesleyan University on February 5-6. TFC’s pitchers were in mid-season form for most of the opening weekend, but the Screaming Eagles were downed by the Warriors in each game of the series, 2-0, 7-3, and 1-0 (14 innings).
Southern Wesleyan scored a run in both the fourth and fifth innings of action in the opener on Friday to take the 2-0 lead. TFC’s offense could only muster three hits in the game and could not breakthrough behind TFC’s starter Jacob Cram. Cram, in his TFC debut, threw 6 innings and allowed five hits, two unearned runs, walked five, and struck out six. Ryan Larrazabal threw two scoreless innings of relief, walked one, struck out four, and did not allow a hit. Nathan Stanley had a hit, a walk, and three stolen bases at the plate for TFC.
Josh Slate took the ball for TFC in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Warriors plated two in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. SWU added one in the fourth before TFC answered with a run of its own in the top of the fifth. But a three-run bottom fifth for SWU put the home team ahead 6-1. Both teams added a run in the sixth, and TFC scored an additional run in the 7th, but could not complete the comeback for the 7-3 loss.
Slate was knocked for nine hits, six earned runs, five unearned runs, three walks and three strikeouts in four and tw0-thirds innings. Daniel Singleton threw an inning and one-third and allowed one hit, one earned run, and struck out two. At the plate, Zachary Zillweger doubled twice and Jesse Thomas and Ethan Edwards each had two hits in the loss. Stanley, Zillweger, and Thomas each crossed the plate for TFC, and AJ Mussler, Ben Wilson and Edwards were credited with an RBI each.
In the series finale, a scoreless pitchers’ duel was a fitting end to the series. The game, which was supposed to be finished in seven innings,remained scoreless until SWU broke the deadlock in the bottom of the 14th inning for the walkoff win and series sweep.
Dylan Powers threw 10 scoreless innings for Toccoa, allowing just four hits, no runs, two walks, and seven strikeouts. Brady McMichael threw three and a third innings, and allowed two hits, and an earned run. Leftfielder Jon Millege collected two of TFC’s six hits.
Toccoa Falls will open the 2016 home schedule on February 13 with a “twin bill” against Johnson University (TN). The doubleheader will begin at 1PM and will streamed here, as will all TFC home games.