Collier’s solid performance on mound lifts San Jac
Tommy Collier did his job Sunday.
The San Jacinto (Texas) College-North pitcher went deep into the game and struck out batters.
That was his mission in the Gators’ opening game of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
The freshman right-hander pitched 72/3 innings and struck out 13 in helping San Jac to a 7-1 victory over Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College.
“As a starter, you try to take it as deep (into the game) as you can,” Collier said.
“He’s a big, strong young man who keeps it low in the zone,” San Jac coach Tom Arrington said.
Collier threw more than 130 pitches but in an eight-day tournament, he has some arm left.
“When you get into World Series time, you string it out a little,” Arrington said of having leeway to let the pitch count go a little higher.
It appeared Pioneers starting pitcher Jimmy Revan’s stay might be a short one, as he threw 58 pitches through the first two innings. Revan settled down, however, cutting down on his walks and keeping the Gators off the board for the next 41/3 innings.
“I knew he would find it eventually,” Spartanburg coach Tim Wallace said.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Gators gave themselves a little breathing room when Deric Hawkins doubled home two runs in the seventh.
“I’m thinking, hit the ball hard in the gap,” Hawkins said of his one-out shot off the right-center field wall.
Collier then relaxed a bit, striking out three more batters before he was relieved by Jacob Cowan in the seventh.
“When it’s a 2-1 game, you’re pitching more on location,” Arrington said of Collier being able to loosen up a bit after the Gators padded their lead.
As for Spartanburg, “We were just hurting ourselves swinging at fastballs in the dirt,” Pioneers leadoff hitter Marty Gantt said.
What Collier seemed to do best, in fact, was make the Pioneers swing at low pitches.
“With two strikes, you want to keep it down (and) mess with their minds,” Collier said.
San Jac added another run in the eighth, then took advantage of a pair of two-out errors by Spartanburg to score twice in the ninth.
“We never really threatened,” Wallace lamented. “We didn’t compete and that’s disappointing.
“We just didn’t handle the lights (of the night game) well.”
As for Collier, he pitched a game in relief on one day’s rest in the regional tournament. After the 130-pitch outing Sunday, “I think I’ll be ready in three or four days,” he said.
San Jac advances to Tuesday’s night game and plays the winner of today’s Cowley County (Kansas)-Santa Fe (Fla.) game.