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Fifth-ranked Senators overcome early deficit to split doubleheader with Georgia Highlands

Fifth-ranked Senators overcome early deficit to split doubleheader with Georgia Highlands

MORRISTOWN, TN – No. 5 Walters State were held scoreless for nine straight innings on Friday afternoon but scored eight runs in the final five innings to salvage a doubleheader split. 


The Senators took a 3-0 loss in game one but won 8-7 in game two. The game was tied at seven heading to the bottom of the seventh, before Brantley Bamberg ended things with a sacrifice fly. 


With the split, Walters State moved to 7-5 on the season.


"It was really important to show that this team has a lot of heart and is able to come back even when we're down 6-0," Walker Morgan, who had two hits in the second game, said. "There's never really a game we feel we're out of. That's what today showed." 


GAME ONE: Georgia Highlands 3, No. 5 Walters State 0 


In game one, the Senators managed just three hits at the plate and took the loss.


Karson Bonaparte (2-1) got the start on the mound and pitched a strong 6.2 innings. Bonaparte gave up three runs, only one earned, on eight hits and struck out four. Nate Conner came in with two outs in the seventh and got the final out. 


At the plate, Logen Sutton had two hits while Andrew Grande had the other. 


Walters State's best scoring chance in the game came in the sixth inning, as a Zion Taylor walk and Sutton double put runners on first and third with one out. However, Walters State failed to capitalize.


GAME TWO: No. 5 Walters State 8, Georgia Highlands 7


Game two was trending in the same direction as game one, with Walters State falling behind 6-0. However, the Senators scored two in the third, two in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the seventh to take the win. 


Morgan led the way at the plate with two hits, including a game-tying home run in the fifth inning. 


Along with Morgan, Nate Conner hit his first homer of the season and drove in two runs. Bamberg had two RBI, as well.


On the mound, Taz Butler got the start and threw 2.2 innings. Butler gave up six runs on four hits and struck out two. 


Replacing Butler in the third was Ryan Bender, and he pitched 0.2 innings before being replaced by Luke Ferguson. Ferguson struck out three in his 1.2 innings of work, giving up a solo homer. 


Miles Smith was next in line on the mound, recording two outs before Jonny Stevens (1-0) finished things off with a clean 1.1 innings. 


Georgia Highlands started strong with four in the second and two in the third to go up 6-0. However, Walters State finally got on the board in the bottom half of the third with a Bamberg RBI single and a run off a double steal that cut the lead to 6-2.


The Senators got even closer in the bottom of the fourth, as Conner crushed a two-run homer to make it 6-4. Georgia Highlands got a run back with a solo homer in the top of the fifth, but Walters State tied it in the bottom of the fifth on a Sutton RBI double and Morgan two-run homer. 


"I was just trying to shoot a line drive in the gap," Morgan said. "It was a pitch up and in, and I kind of felt like I got jammed a little bit, but it was enough to get out of here." 


The two teams were held scoreless in the sixth, and Stevens set Georgia Highlands down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Deniel Ortiz led the bottom half of the inning off with a walk and then advanced to third on back-to-back wild pitches. Following a Sutton walk, Bamberg laced a flyball to center that was shallow. But pinch runner Jack Torbett was too quick and easily scored to win the game. 


"Our mindset was just to have each other's backs," Morgan said. "We know we can hit. We've been able to put up runs against some really good teams. We knew we could hit, so we just had to come out here and have each other's backs."


Up Next:


Walters State and Georgia Highlands will play two more games on Sunday, this time at Georgia Highlands. Game one is at 1 p.m. with game two to follow at 4 p.m.


"We just need to come out and trust ourselves and be able to have the right approach at the plate and come out and throw strikes," Morgan said.


Rob Harvey

Walters State Community College

Sports Information Director

Cell: (423) 779-8880