March 31, 2014

JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

MARION - With a performance reminiscent of St. Louis Cardinals star infielder Matt Carpenter, John A. Logan College freshman catcher Jacob Carpenter, who also swings it from the left side of the plate, banged out four hits and drove in three runs Saturday to lead the Volunteers to a 6-2 Game 1 win over visiting Olney at Rent One Park in Marion.

The Blue Knights bounced back to win the nightcap, 10-4, to force a split. Logan won the best-of-three series, however, thanks to a win at Olney Friday.

After singling his first time up Saturday, Carpenter stroked another hit in the third to drive in Zach Ditto. He made it 3-for-3 in the fourth, driving in Joba Ferrell and he singled yet again in the eighth to drive in Kyle Schneider. If that weren't enough, he also threw out a runner, stole a base and scored a run.

"I was seeing the ball great today and was fortunate enough to put the bat on the ball and hit it hard through this turf infield," the Chagrin Falls, Ohio native said. "In my first at bat, I pulled the ball through the right side. They then played me over to that side my next at bat, so I took it up the middle. I just felt like I was doing my job."

Another highlight in the victory included a solid, if not spectacular effort from starting pitcher Jake Herron. "Joliet Jake" went eight innings, allowed two runs on 10 hits, struck out four, walked three and hit three.

Sophomore Tyler McGowan of Harrisburg worked an uneventful ninth, recording a strikeout in the process.
With the score tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the fourth, Ferrell singled with two outs. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw from the catcher. He then scored on Carpenter's base hit, which proved to be the game winner.

The Vols added single tallies in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

In Game 2, freshman southpaw Brandon Radmacher got the start for the Vols. He struggled immensely, lasting only two full innings and surrendering five runs on four hits. He struck out nobody, walked three and hit two batters. He was relieved by Ryan Dunne in the third.

Logan fell behind 5-0 before a three-run fourth inning made it a two-run game. In that frame. Konner Lutz drew a walk. Culver Plant singled. John Tolliver bounced into a double play, but Walker Owens' infield single drove in Lutz. Kyle Schroeder, a pitcher now starting in right field, followed with a single and Ditto doubled into left center, driving in two more.

That would be as close as the Vols would get. Olney plated five runs in the fifth, all coming with two outs and aided by two errors by Carpenter, who had shifted from catcher to third base in the second contest.

"It's the first time Carp's played an inning over there," said Logan head coach Jerry Halstead. "We're playing guys all over the place in an effort to try and find our best combination. Hopefully, we're a little bit closer to where we need to be."

Halstead said he would have loved a three-game sweep, but winning two of three in each series will likely lead to a Great Rivers Athletic Conference title.

"The goal was to come here and get the sweep today, but at least we won the series," he said. "I liked the way we performed in that first game. The pitching was pretty solid. The defense was solid and our hitting was good enough to put six runs on the board. As for the second game, well...we're still trying to find our third conference starting pitcher. We'll keep trying."

Now 15-11 overall and 9-3 in league play, atop the GRAC, the Vols host a non-league doubleheader with Dyersburg State, Tenn. Tuesday at 1. Next league game is at 3 p.m. Thursday at home against Lincoln Trail. Logan will then travel to Robinson for two games Saturday.