CARROLLTON, Ga. - Wes Bucher has been one of the top pitchers in the Gulf South Conference this season thus far, and Saturday afternoon, the junior proved it against Mississippi College, powering the Wolves to a 1-0 win to salvage a split of the day after a 7-5 loss in Game 1.
Game 1 - MC 7, UWG 5
A single inning was the difference in the second game of the series between the West Georgia Wolves and Mississippi College Choctaws, as MC used a six-run fifth inning to win the series after winning big on Friday afternoon.
The Wolves opened Saturday with Andres Fernandez sitting the Choctaws down in order, then Christopher Michals singled to lead off the game for West Georgia. Michals then stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Junior center fielder Cade Marlowe then singled to the shortstop, bringing home Michals for an early 1-0 advantage for UWG.
Brian Dansereau then delivered on a one-out single in the bottom of the second, then advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt and scored on a bunt single from Tucker Breen for a 2-0 lead for the Wolves. Fernandez cruised until the fourth inning, when three singles in the frame allowed the first run of the day for Mississippi College.
In the fifth, things took a turn for the worse for West Georgia, as Mississippi College took advantage of an early error from the Wolves and turned it into momentum for a six-run inning, taking a dominating 7-2 lead.
Dansereau added two runs for the Wolves in the seventh with a two-run homer and the Wolves added a run in the bottom of the ninth for the final result. The UWG second-baseman was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead the UWG offensive that had 15 hits and 13 runners left on base on the day. Fernandez had seven strikeouts in his first loss of the year, dropping his record to 2-1. Dalton Reagin worked 4.2 innings of shutout ball in relief, striking out three.
Game 2 - Wolves 1, Choctaws 0
They say that momentum in baseball is the next day's starter. No statement could be more true than with the Wolves in the final game of the series, as Wes Bucher and Hunter Mullis went toe-to-toe in allowing a combined seven hits in the seven-inning game.
Bucher was the story of the game, as he tossed a complete-game shutout in his first start at West Georgia, allowing just two hits and striking out seven to pick up his fourth victory of the season. His only jam came in the fifth inning, when a single, a walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases for MC with just one out. Bucher then struck out two straight batters to preserve the shutout and get out of the inning.
The two pitchers cruised for the most part until the bottom of the sixth, when designated hitter Bradley Felkel led off the inning by stroking a single into center field. Catcher Price Peters then laid down a perfect bunt, and Mullis' throw was wild, going all the way into the right field corner. Felkel came all the way around from first to score and give the Wolves a 1-0 advantage.
In the top of the seventh, Bucher closed out the game by inducing a fly out, a ground out and then a strike out looking to take the victory for the Wolves.
West Georgia moves to 11-3 on the year with a 1-2 record in GSC play, while the Choctaws go to 10-2 overall with a 2-1 record against GSC opponents. The Wolves will host North Georgia on Wednesday evening, with a 5 p.m. start
Hitting: Chistopher Michals, 10
Hitting: Logan Taylor, 8
Reached Base: Cade Marlowe, 14
Reached Base: Logan Taylor, 14
Reached Base: Christopher Michals, 10