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University of South Carolina baseball coach Steve Williams called the Lancers’ split with No. 9 Spartanburg Methodist College a “bitter-sweet” moment Saturday, March 15.
Williams was happy with the Lancers’ 6-0 win over the Pioneers and had mixed emotions about USCL’s 4-3 loss to open the Saturday doubleheader at the SMC field.
The Pioneers’ one-run win gave SMC coach Tim Wallace, a Lancaster native and former player under Williams when he coached high school and Legion baseball in Lancaster, his 1,000th career win in 23 seasons at the Spartanburg junior college.
“I was happy for Tim and his achievement, but hoping it didn’t come against our team,” Williams said. “I wanted him to get it, but not against us.
“Before we opened the series, I told Tim I was hoping it came in their next series,” Williams said.
The Pioneers’ win didn’t come easy as SMC needed extra inning in the scheduled seventh-inning game to post the narrow win in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Jordan Garrett’s two-out hit drove in the winning run to give Wallace the milestone win.
“I was elated for Tim, but just wish it hadn’t come against USCL, but I guess there was a touch of diamond irony since Lancaster is his hometown and we now have a college baseball program which plays its games where Tim began his high school career and it has blossomed from there as a player and coach.”
Wallace’s coveted win put him as the third fastest to reach 1,000 wins among National Junior College baseball coaches.
“That’s a tremendous accomplishment and a real tribute to him and his coaches, now and in the past,” Williams said. “Again, I wish it didn’t come against us, but I’m proud of him as a friend and fellow coach.”
Lloyd Simmons of Seminole State College (Fla.) has 1,599 wins and Perry Keith of Connors State College (Okla.) has 1,285 victories.
Wallace has a .762 winning percentage only behind Simmons (.845) and Keith (.779).
“Tim was happy with the achievement, but kept it all in perspective,” Williams said. “I know he was thrilled and I was happy for him, but showing the character, which has marked his baseball career, he said it was an honor which comes as the result of the combined hard work and dedication of his players, assistant coaches and himself through his 23 seasons at SMC.”
USCL’s Ryan Manore, who hurled 4.1 innings, took the loss, allowing three hits, one run, one earned run and a walk. He fanned four. Chris Stewart, in 4.1 innings, yielded eight hits, three runs, three earned runs and a walk. He whiffed two.
Casey Parker led the Lancers with three hits. Ranz Bodison drilled a two-run double. Zach Callahan had a hit and drove in a run. Derek Croxton and Mitchell Price each supplied a hit.
The Lancers, 17-8, 5-1, rebounded nicely in the nightcap, notching a solid 6-0 win over the Pioneers.
Tanner Petrey, 3-2, went the distance for the win, tossing a one-hitter and striking out three. He walked six and hit a batter.
Zach Callahan slammed a three-run home run in the fifth inning and scored two runs. Bryan Dye drilled two hits, with a RBI and scored a run. Tad Martin rapped two hits and Drew Graydon had a hit and drove in two runs.
Patrick Burt and Ranz Bodison each had a hit.
Former Andrew Jackson High School ace hurler Tripp Rollings, who took the loss in five innings of work in game two, is now 3-2.
He allowed three hits, five runs, two earned runs and three walks. Rollings struck out six.
USCL was slated to play SMC in a Sunday twin bill, but the games were postponed due to rain and wet field conditions.
The Lancers will host the Limestone University junior varsity on Thursday, March 18 at 3 p.m.
The game was originally set for Wednesday, but moved to Thursday when Lancaster High School had a home game with Fort Mill.