TC pitchers throw two no-hitters in three days
by LaVonte Young
TALLADEGA - Since athletics returned to Talladega College in 2008 the baseball program has only had one pitcher to throw a no-hitter. The Tornadoes were able to double that number last week as they had two pitchers to pitch no-hitters. On last Thursday, Viso Gabriel threw a no hitter in the Tornadoes 29-0 win over Rust College. On Saturday, James Rodriguez threw a no-hitter in TC’s 11-0 over LeMoyne-Owens. This was Rodriguez second no-hitter three years at TC.

“When we throw two no hitters in three days it makes it more special,” TC head coach Will Ramos said. “That puts Talladega College’s name out there and it is something positive to let us know that we are improving every year. I am very excited about what we can do from now on.”

Gabriel struck out 11 batters in his no hitter against Rust College March 1. That was the junior’s first collegiate no-hitter.

“ It was really special that day,” Gabriel said. “I worked really good with my catcher and it was really good. I had the defense behind me playing very well. They caught all the ground balls. We were making all the plays. I felt comfortable on the mound. When I was throwing I was hitting my spots. It was something very good.”

Gabriel said he wasn’t thinking about throwing a no-hitter during the game.

“I wasn’t thinking about anything,” Gabriel said. “I was just throwing the ball and kept doing what I was doing the whole game. I was just thinking about three outs and that was it.”

Gabriel has a 2-1 record for the Tornadoes this season. Ramos feels like his right hand hurler may be one of the most improved pitchers in the country.

“Viso is a guy that has been here since he was a freshman,” Ramos said. “He is one of the most improved pitchers here on the team and no doubt in the nation. He has one loss; he lost 2-1 against Lee University, which is ranked No.3 in the nation. You really can see that he has improved tremendously. I am very happy about his accomplishment. What they have done is special.”

For Rodriguez this is was his second time pitching a no-hitter in three years. He said his teammates were badgering him about throwing a no-hitter last Saturday against LeMoyne-Owens.

“Before the game everybody was saying Jimmy throw a no hitter,” Rodriguez said. “I was like no I just want to go out there and do my job-that’s it. I mixed my pitches, my command was right there. I was throwing everything for a strike. I was practicing a lot on my change up and it worked out good.”

Rodriguez said both of his no-hitters had something special about them.

“The first one was against Lee University and they were ranked,” Rodriguez said. “That was emotional. This one was special. In the first one I didn’t strike that many, but in this one I struck out 13. Defensively, they didn’t hit many ground balls. It was almost a perfect game, but we committed two errors.”

Ramos credits starting Rodriguez out slow as part in his success thus far this season.

“Jimmy is a great pitcher,” Ramos said. “ He has been great since he got here as a freshman. When he was a freshman he had a no-hitter against Lee University, which was a ranked program. He is getting back to throwing the way he throws. This year he started out slow. We didn’t let him pitch in the fall, because last year he threw too many innings. We are slowly getting his pitch count up. The first week we started with 40 pitches, and then we went up to 55, then 60. Now he is getting into form and you can see it.”

Ramos feels like his pitching staff has been the strength of the team this season.

The Tornadoes have put up huge numbers on the board in their last four games. TC scored 86 runs in their last four games which is a huge improvement from their last four games where they only managed to score eight runs

“We are struggling a little bit (offensively),” Ramos said. “We hit it last weekend and I think that was the first weekend we hit the ball well. Hopefully it will carry on for the rest of the season. We have Miles (today) and we start the first conference series this weekend, I am hoping the hitters can contain the discipline at the plate and that is what we are lacking right now. If we do what we have done the past four games and maintain our discipline I know we will be OK.”

TC takes on Miles today in a double header starting at 1 p.m.

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© 2012