Talladega rallies for 5-3, game two win to earn split with Shorter
Rome, Ga. - Talladega College rallied from a 3-0 deficit with five runs over the final two innings to salvage a split with host Shorter College with a 5-3 victory in game two of a Tuesday afternoon, non-conference doubleheader at Robert H. Ledbetter Baseball Complex.
Shorter, which has won nine of its last 11 games, exits Tuesday's contests with a 22-23 overall record.
Hawks' starter Matt Kirksey shut down the visitors for the majority of the nightcap, allowing four hits over the first five innings, but Talladega got to Kirksey in the sixth.
Jesse Sharbutt led off the inning with a double and Richard Cochran followed two batters later with a two-run homer to trim the Hawks' lead to 3-2.
After holding Shorter scoreless for the fourth consecutive inning, the Tornadoes loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh and made the most of the opportunity.
Ramon Cruz hit a two-run single to hand Talladega its first lead of the game at 4-2 and Nicolas Figueroa capped the comeback with an RBI single. The damage could have been worse had Shorter ace Tim Day not forced an inning ending double play to give the Hawks a chance to battle back.
But Shorter, which had rallied from a one-run deficit in the seventh and eighth innings before taking an 11-10 victory in game one of the double dip earlier in the day, could not muster the same magic in game two.
The Hawks put runners on first and second with one out, but could not bring in the tying runs in dropping just their second game in their last 11 outings.
Early on, Shorter used its momentum from the game one walk-off win to gain an advantage.
Clint Harkins scored after a throw trying to nab his third base steal attempt sailed into the outfield and Matt Johnson followed with a sacrifice fly to stake Shorter a 2-0 lead after the first inning. A Scott Morris RBI double in the second extended the Hawks' advantage to 3-0.
Harkins, Morris and Joseph Brooks each collected two hits for the Hawks, who now turn their attention to a crucial Southern States Athletic Conference series with league leading and No. 6-ranked Lee University this weekend.
Game one of the three-game set is slated for Friday, April 16 at 2 p.m. Games two and three will take place as part of Military Appreciation Day at Robert H. Ledbetter on Saturday, April 17. Military Appreciation festivities will begin at noon and first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.