JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 4, 2016) – Despite dropping the opening game of the Blue/Gold World series last Thursday, the Blue Team fought back by winning games two and three of the Fall Classic to take a 2-1 lead in the series over the weekend at Thomas Stadium.
Team Blue used solid pitching and timely hitting to even the series with a 4-3 walk-off win on Scott Hoilman’s (Johnson City, Tenn.) RBI double in the bottom of the 10th inning on Friday, while Team Blue cruised to a 10-1 seven-inning victory in game three of the series on Sunday.
GAME TWO HIGHLIGHTS
Four different pitchers struck out nine and allowed only three runs for Team Blue ... Senior Blake Smith (Ninety Six, S.C.) was the most effective for the Blue Team as he pitched three scoreless innings and notched three strikeouts as well. Red-shirt junior righty Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) earned the win as he pitched a scoreless inning in the tenth.
The Gold Team pitchers were also impressive as they only allowed three earned runs and registered 10 strikeouts … Junior righty Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) led the staff as he posted four strikeouts in three innings in the start.
- The Gold Team struck first in the top of the first when freshman Cullen Smith smashed a deep home run over the wall in right-center, which put his team up, 1-0.
- After holding Blue scoreless in the first three innings, the Gold Team tacked another run across the plate in the top of the third when junior Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) singled and later scored on an RBI triple from senior Blake Rowlett (Clarksville, Tenn.).
- The Blue Team finally got on the board in the fourth as junior Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) singled to right and came home on Jammer Strickland’s (Knoxville, Tenn.) RBI double to the gap in left-center, making it a 2-1 score.
- Despite having the Gold Team extended its lead to 3-1 in the top of the seventh, Blue rallied with solo runs in the seventh and eighth innings to tie things up at three. In the top of the seventh, the Gold Team generated back-to-back singles from Doug McFarland (Monhton, Pa.) and Hunter Parker (Chattanooga, Tenn.), which led to Cullen Smith’s second RBI hit of the game. In the bottom half of the inning, Seth Cunningham (Bristol, Va.) doubled and sprinted home on a sac-fly RBI from Jackson Greer (Knoxville, Tenn.). An inning later, Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) ignited the rally with a leadoff single to left – and after Strickland was hit by a pitch and a Cunningham walk – Hoilman drew a bases loaded walk to pull Blue even at three.
- With both teams scoreless in the ninth, Strickland was hit by a pitch and came around to score on Hoilman’s walk-off double, giving Team Blue the 4-3 victory.
- Ethan Rice (Unicoi, Tenn.) led Team Blue with a pair of hits, while Maher, Strickland, Cunningham and Hoilman all reached base twice ... Hoilman drove in two of the four runs in the win.
- The Blue Team bullpen held Team Gold to one run in the final seven innings.
- The Gold Team was led by the top of its order as Parker and Cullen Smith both recorded two hits each, while Smith scored a run and also drove in two … On the mound, senior Victor Gonzalez (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) struck out four in three innings of relief.
GAME THREE HIGHLIGHTS
In game three of the Blue/Gold World Series, the Blue Team rolled to a 10-1 win over Team Gold. The Blue Team pitching staff was able to hold the Gold Team to just one run on five hits. In addition, the Blue Team offense came alive as junior Caleb Longley (Cleveland, Tenn.) blasted a two-run home run, doubled and drove in three runs. Overall, the Blue Team slugged its way to 11 hits on the day with eight of them going for extra bases.
- The Blue Team scored the first three runs as Caleb Longley reached on an error in the second and scored on an RBI double from Jammer Strickland, while Ethan Rice – who reached on a single – came home on Scott Hoilman’s sac-fly RBI. An inning later, Chris Cook reached via a one-out walk and scored on Longley’s RBI double – making it a 3-0 game.
- The Gold Team scored its only run in the bottom of the fourth when Hagen Owenby led off the inning with a walk and scored on Brock Beeler’s (Knoxville, Tenn.) RBI ground out.
- The Blue Team quickly answered in the fifth when Aaron Maher laced a two-out single and Longley connected with a two-run bomb to left-center – extending the lead to 5-1.
- Team Blue capped off its scoring with a five-run sixth inning to make it 10-1. Hoilman, Greer, Nick Sainato (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Maher all drove in runs in the inning.
- Eight of Team Blue’s batters registered a hit – with Maher, Longley, Strickland and Greer all finishing with multi-hit games … Longley also drove in three runs, while Maher, Strickland and Greer ended with two RBI a piece … Daniel Sweeney (Johnson City, Tenn.), Dillon Cate and Aaron Maher all provided Team Blue with scoreless appearances on the mound.
- Blake Rowlett had two of Gold’s five hits, while Christian Bailey (Kingsport, Tenn.) drove in the lone run.
- Matt Roueche (East Ridge, Tenn.) surrendered seven runs (five earned) in two innings of relief.
Game four of the series is set for 6 p.m., on Wednesday and game five is set for 5 p.m., on Friday.
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