The Grizzlies baseball team won three straight games to sweep the weekend series against conference opponent Edward Waters College for the second week in a row, outscoring the Tigers 54-8 in the six total games.
The consecutive weekend sweeps add to an impressive run the team has been on as of late, winning 15 of their last 17 contests since losing a series to unranked Thomas University.
Friday, senior starting pitcher Jonathan McKinney took a no-hitter into the seventh and final inning before surrendering his first hit in a 14-0 blowout win for GGC. It was the second time in as many weeks that he had done so, as he now carries a 6-2 record on the season with a 3.03 ERA.
“To be honest, I was kind of going for it this week, because last week the same thing happened in the seventh, unfortunately,” McKinney said when asked of his awareness of the possible no-hitter.
Sophomore center fielder Cord Johnson had a big day at the plate, going 3-3 with a walk while scoring three times and driving in two more.
Saturday’s doubleheader started off slow, with the Grizzlies trailing the unranked Tigers 3-0 in the fifth. Luckily, Cam Coursey and junior college transfer Gabe Austin were locked in late. Both had multiple hits and combined to drive in all three runs batted in during game one. The other of the four runs that scored came home on a balk call while Austin was on third that allowed him to score without contest leading the Grizzlies to the 4-2 win.
The win on the mound was credited to senior reliever Matthew Swain, who came in earlier than usual in the fourth inning, with only one out and multiple Tigers aboard. Swain was able to wiggle his way out of the jam that he inherited and would go on to throw the final three innings of the seven-inning victory as well, earning his third win of the season out of the bullpen.
“I was able to locate my fastball and change-up pretty well today. That really helped me in a situation where I needed to throw up a zero in multiple innings,” Swain said.
The final game of the weekend was domination from beginning to end. GGC opened up the scoring in the second and would put up crooked numbers again in the third, fourth, and sixth innings on the way to a 12-1 victory in seven short innings. Senior right-handed pitcher Tucker Plouffe, who was just bumped up into the weekend rotation, showed poise on the mound scattering the seven Tiger hits over six innings of work allowing only one run.
“I’m just going out there and trying to eat innings, just give our guys opportunities to win the ball game,” Plouffe said.
The offensive onslaught this game was sparked by the talented middle infield combo of Cam Coursey and Brent Burgess. Both the second baseman and shortstop homered in the game, with Burgess’ no doubt blast adding to his game leading four runs driven in on the day.
Coursey’s homer gave him three on the season and was his third extra-base hit of the day, a nice display of his speed/power combo.
“I think the extra base hits were just a result of being patient and waiting for good pitches to hit, then when you get them, just don’t miss it. Usually when you hit it hard somewhere good things happen,” Coursey said.
Not to be overlooked yet again, Cord Johnson added two more hits in game three, to run his weekend totals at the plate to 5-6, reaching base eight times and scoring on five of those trips in only two games played.
“We’re certainly getting hot at the right time. I think we are really starting to swing it well and throw a lot of strikes, we’re peaking as we head into this last stretch of games and really playing the game well,” Johnson said.
Johnson never actually got out at all this weekend. The one plate appearance where he wasn’t put on by a walk/HBP or didn’t get a hit, he reached base on a Tiger error.
When asked about not playing in the second game of the contest despite a 3-3 performance in game one, Johnson assured that he wasn’t really worried about it.
“I was a little upset about it at first, but I got over it. It’s a team effort and the second game where got the win 4-3, I was able to come in and play defense for the squad, helping any way they need me to,” Johnson said.
Come out and support the Grizzlies this week as they play William and Carey University at home both Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and Wednesday at 3 p.m.