Mathes helps TC earn two wins over Fisk
by ERICH HILKERT
TALLADEGA—Talladega College softball picked up two conference wins Wednesday in a doubleheader against Fisk University. The Lady Tornadoes won the first game 15-0 and the second contest 15-5.

Gina Mathes pitched a complete-game shutout in the first game, allowing only one hit, one walk and striking out nine batters. She also went four for four at the plate with two doubles, one run scored and four RBIs.

“I just finally have movement on my balls,” Mathes said of her pitching performance. “That was really it. I feel great about my performance today.”

The Lady Tornadoes were quick to get on the board, too. Julisha Cook took a walk, and Mathes doubled to center field to bring Cook in to score. On the throw to the plate, Mathes advanced to third base. Brittany Paige lined out to the pitcher, which allowed Mathes to score from third base giving the team a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, the offense broke the game wide open. Jamara Thomas hit a shot to right field. When the right fielder had trouble tracking the ball, Thomas managed to come around the bases and score. The Lady Tornadoes added another run before Jan Thomas knocked a double into left-center field to score a run. Mathes hit a double through the middle of the infield to put two more runs on the board. Brittany Paige slammed a home run to left field to add another two runs, pushing the team’s lead to 9-0.

In the bottom of the third inning, the team added six more runs. Jan Thomas doubled through the middle of the infield to bring Quiyanna Slack in to score. Julisha Cook hit a shot to the third baseman, but it was hit so hard it bounced off her glove and into left field to score another run. Mathes reached base on an errant throw to first, bringing in another run to make it 12-0. Brittany Paige walked to bring up Lauren Parker, who doubled off the wall in center field to score Mathes and Paige. Quiyanna Slack later reached base when the first baseman dropped the throw, scoring Parker and pushing TC’s lead to 15-0.

With a no hitter through three innings, Mathes allowed a hit in the fourth but struck out four of six batters faced ending the game in five innings.

She pitched five more innings for a win in the second game. She allowed five earned runs while striking out four batters.

“She did fantastic,” TC head coach C.J. Combs said. “She stayed up the whole time. She was a major factor. She did great.”

The two wins moved the team’s overall record to 9-23 and gave them a 2-0 record in conference play.

“I hope we keep it going and start a winning streak,” Combs said. “We need one. I felt like we came out aggressive and ready to go. In the second game, we were too comfortable, but we got right back in it. Conference is conference and everybody comes to play for conference games. We played this really well.”

Fisk jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning.

Starting pitcher Marrissa Brimm singled into the gap between third base and shortstop. Amber Victory doubled down the third base line to score the first run of the game. An out later, Keyanna Wiggins hit a two-run home run to right field, giving Fisk a 3-0 lead.

TC battled back to tie it in the bottom half of the inning. Parker doubled off the wall in center field to score Jan Thomas. Parker stole second base and came home to score on a wild pitch. Julisha Cook scored in the midst of a rundown with Quiyanna Slack at first base to tie the game, 3-3.

TC came back to take the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Mathes hit a grounder to first base, but there was no play at the bag and Jamara Thomas came around to score. With the bases loaded, Parker hit a grounder to second base for a force out while two runs came in to score giving TC a 6-3 lead.

The Lady Tornadoes added four more runs in the bottom of the third and five more in the bottom of the fourth to give the team a 15-3 lead.

“I felt like we were aggressive and we wanted to hit,” Combs said of her team’s combined 30-run performance. “We came wanting to hit every time. We did the same thing on the bases. We were aggressive on the bases. I felt like we were patient and waited for our pitch and that’s how we got our runs, one at a time. We weren’t trying to kill it. We were just trying to get base hits.”

Fisk was able to score two more runs, before Mathes got Ashley Newman to fly out to second base to end the game.

TC continues conference play Friday with a doubleheader against Edward Waters with first pitch scheduled for 12 p.m.

© 2013