Eagles sweep Navarro to earn conference title
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The NTCC Eagles moved one step closer to the Junior College World Series Wednesday as they swept defending national champion Navarro to earn the regular season conference title.
A pair of outstanding pitching performances from starters Jordan Marah and Tanner Allgood, coupled with a strong defensive showing, carried the day as the Eagles defeated the visiting Bulldogs 3-1 and 2-0.
With the wins, the Eagles finish the regular season 26-10 in Region XIV Eastern Zone play and 33-14 overall.
“We just had a good performance at the plate and in the field today,” Eagles head coach Josh Stewart said. “This is what we have worked towards all season and we were able to perform when we had to.”
The two teams came into the contest in a virtual tie atop the conference standings as the Eagles entered the day 24-10 in conference while the Bulldogs were 23-9.
Game one was a classic pitcher’s duel between Marah and Navarro starter Gage Curry as neither player gave up a run through the first five and a half innings of play. All three of the Eagles’ runs in the contest came in the bottom of the sixth inning as Dauris Holguin got the rally started with a hard ground ball into right field for a single. Shane Segovia reached base on a catcher’s interference call before Matt Durst singled to bring in Holguin for a 1-0 Eagle lead.
After Wesley Hoover was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Zach Costa had the hit of the game for the Eagles with two outs in the inning as his line-drive single to center brought in Segovia and Durst to put the Eagles up 3-0.
A double by Ryan Ford and a single by Colton Besett got the Bulldogs on the board in the top of the seventh but it was not enough as Marah and the Eagles held on to get the victory.
Marah pitched a complete game in the victory, giving up one run on five hits while walking one and striking out seven.
Curry took the loss for the Bulldogs despite a strong outing, giving up three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out 13 in six innings.
Costa led the Eagles at the plate in the win, going 1-1 with two RBI and a walk while Luis Sanchez, Holguin, Durst and Hoover also had hits in the win.
Game two was just as much a pitcher’s duel as game one as Allgood faced off against Bulldog starter Zach Hobbs.
While Allgood was able to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard, the Eagles used a two-out rally to grab a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Telvin Darden got the rally going with a double to right field and Costa then drew a walk to keep the inning alive. Richard Bain lined an 0-1 pitch into right center and Darden scored to give the Eagles all the offense they would need.
Allgood took a no-hitter into the seventh innings before finally giving up a one-out double to Besett for the Bulldogs’ first hit of the game. The Eagles got out of the jam, though, as a ground ball to first and nice catch of a line drive at third by Shane Segovia retired the side.
The Eagles’ other run in the contest came in the bottom of the seventh as Costa led off with a single to left and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bain. Costa advanced to third on a ground ball by Sanchez and then was joined on the bases by Segovia and Holguin as both players drew walks. Durst followed with a single that scored Costa but Holguin was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Eagle relief pitcher Mitchell Davis gave up two quick singles to put a pair on with one out in the eighth inning but got out of the jam with a strike out and a ground ball to Sanchez at second.
The Bulldogs got a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth but left the runner stranded at first as three straight fly balls retired the side.
Allgood picked up the win for the Eagles, giving up no runs and just one hit while walking three and striking out four in seven innings of work. Davis earned the save, giving up no runs and three hits while striking out two in two innings.
Darden and Costa both finished 2-3 with a walk each for NTCC while Durst was 2-4 with an RBI and Bain was 1-3 with the other RBI for the Eagles.
The Eagles will be in action again May 12 as they play the night game on the opening day of the Region XIV Tournament, which NTCC will host.
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