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Diamond Wolves use pitching, hitting to sweep Salukis

/ WESSON – On a muddy, overcast Tuesday afternoon, the Co-Linbaseball team shined brightly on Sullivan Field as the Wolves wontheir season opening doubleheader over Southwest Community Collegeof Memphis, Tenn. In the first game, Co-Lin rode the 5-hit pitchingof sophomore Jacob Blakeney in a 7-2 triumph.

/ In the finale, sophomore Josh Garrett pitched the 11-6 victoryover Southwest. The school is a consolidation of Shelby State andTennessee State Tech which took place last July.

/ Co-Lin head coach Keith Case said he was pleased to see hisyoung squad sweep the season opener. “We got some solid pitchingand timely hits.”

Co-Lin 7, Southwest 2

/ Blakeney, Co-Lin’s ace starter on last season’s 47-17 NJCAADivision II World Series squad, picked up where he left off. In sixinnings, he struck out 3 batters, walked 4 and allowed 1 earned runon 5 hits.

/ “I felt real good out there,” said Blakeney. “Our freshmenhave worked hard and they did a good job.”

/ Blakeney said he struggled early in the game but he got somegood advice from Co-Lin pitching coach Pete Young. “I couldn’treally find my slider. I haven’t thrown many pitches. Coach settledme down. He told me to keep the ball down and don’t overthrow.”

/ The Wolves showcased their offensive potential in the opener.Co-Lin, ranked No. 4 in the NJCAA preseason poll, got solo homeruns from freshman Seth Lofton and sophomore Brett Hederman.Freshman centerfielder Arlandus Brown contributed an RBI triple anda double. He also scored on a wild pitch.

/ Freshman shortstop Kyle Beall from Greenwell Springs, La.,went 3-for-3. Beall and Brown provided speed on the base paths.

/ “Kyle and Arlandus can run,” said Case. “They lit a fire underus.

/ “Jacob threw well after he settled down,” Case continued.”Defensively, we played well behind him.”

/ Southwest rallied for 1 run on 2 hits off seventh inningreliever Brandon Atkins. The rally ended when Hederman made adiving catch of pinch-hitter Andrew Vescovi’s blooper. Hedermandoubled up the runner when he flipped to Atkins at first base.

Co-Lin 11, Southwest 6

/ Garrett hurled 5 1/3 innings and claimed the Co-Lin victory.He struck out 4 batters, walked 2, gave up 8 hits and 3 runs. Hehad 1 wild pitch and hit 1 batter.

/ Garrett was relieved by Chuckie Stracener in the sixth andJacob Hartwig in the seventh. The Salukis rallied for 3 runs in thetop of the seventh.

/ The Wolves took a 2-0 lead on back-to-back, first inning solohomers by Arlandus Brown and Brandon Atkins. A sacrifice fly byBrown put Co-Lin up 3-0 in the second.

/ Collecting 2 hits for Co-Lin in the finale were Brown, BrandonAtkins, Lofton and Brandon Holleman. Leftfielder Brett Duncandoubled twice.

/ Co-Lin hosts Bishop (Ala.) State Friday for a doubleheader,starting at 4 p.m.