Pool throws shutout to snap TC’s 7 game skid
by ERICH HILKERT
Apr 13, 2013 | 1378 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA—Jeff Pool and Diego Hernandez combined for a shutout to lead Talladega College to a 7-0 win over Tougaloo College Friday afternoon.

After losing seven straight games, TC head coach Will Ramos was relieved to get a win.

“This win feels better than I think any other win before just because we’ve been losing,” Ramos said. “I think we played so good and then for a week, we kind of hit the wall. We stopped hitting and we stopped pitching and stopped doing everything right. Today feels good. It was a good win. It was a good outing from Pool. He’s now 6-1, so he gives me a good outing whenever we need it and that gets us back to the win column.”

Pool got the win on the mound for seven innings of work, allowing just four hits, zero walks, and striking out four batters, while Hernandez didn’t allow a hit and struck out three in two innings. Tougaloo’s starting pitcher Rodney McKay was charged with the loss.

TC got on the board in the bottom of the second inning after Georgia Santiago tagged from third base on fly out to center field by Chris Castillo. Santiago led off the inning with a double to right field. The team added another run when Kody Ethridge came around to score after Chase Benfield hit a single up the middle of the infield.

TC scored again in the bottom of the third when Castillo hit a slow roller to shortstop for the force out at second base, but Castillo was able to beat the throw to first and Nerio Barreto scored a run to make it 3-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, TC took a commanding 6-0 lead. Brandon Roberts hit a single into center field. Barreto hit a ball into the gap between second and first base. After an out, Santiago hit the ball into almost the exact same spot as Barreto to bring two runs around to score. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Ethridge flied out to left field and Santiago tagged from third base to score a run.

The Tornadoes added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Hernandez struck out two batters in the ninth before catcher Kameron Mizzell threw to third base to catch Derell McLemore stealing for the final out. It was the second runner Mizzell threw out on Friday, while Chase Benfield had a solid defensive day by turning a double play. Kody Ethridge committed the team’s lone error in the fourth inning, but also had a strong play where he charged a soft grounder and made a running throw later in the fifth inning.

“We lost a lot of games just by walking and making some errors,” Ramos said. “We worked this week after taking some days off from the field. We worked on defense and also got together with the pitchers. We’re making some changes there: the way that we throw, the way that we do some other stuff. We made some changes and it worked out.”

Leading the way at the plate for TC was George Santiago, who was a perfect three for three with a walk, two runs scored, and three RBIs.

“George is a guy that’s been good the last two years he’s been with me,” Ramos said. “He’s a very patient guy. He always gives me quality at-bats. He takes a lot of pitches and works the count all the time. When he swings at first pitches, he swings it hard and gives you hard line drives or base hits. He did very good today.”

Nerio Barreto also had a strong performance, going three for four with two runs scored.

Talladega will host Tougaloo College this afternoon in a doubleheader with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.

“I hope we play as good as we played today,” Ramos said. “We really worked this week to improve on the mound and with the defense. We want to play with a lot of energy. We’re starting to get to the season where everybody is tired, so we need to get some energy back. I don’t care how we win the game, but the key is to play defense and we’re going to win it by playing defense and pitching.”