Darton’s Andrew Crumbley picked up a win and a save Saturday as the Cavs swept ABAC in doubleheader.
ALBANY - Andrew Crumbley was ready to go to work Saturday.
Darton’s right-handed reliever picked up a win and a save to help the Cavs complete a twin-bill sweep over ABAC in conference play, 5-4 in 11 innings and 6-3.
Crumbley combined to throw four innings and pulled off the rare win-save combo in the same day to preserve a healthy 3-game lead over Middle Georgia College in the conference standings with just three GJCAA Region XVII series left in the regular season.
“I was ready to throw as much as I could,” Crumbley said. “I hadn’t pitched in about a week. (Coach Scot Hemmings) asked me if I felt good because I only threw 20 pitches (in Game 1). I was good to go.”
Darton starter Jordan Villhauer cruised through the first five innings in Game 2 after Darton (31-9, 18-2) jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first. Villhauer, who was on an 80-pitch limit due to past arm trouble, improved to 4-0 with the win after he went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts.
“He was probably 87-90 (mph on his fastball) and had his changeup and slider working,” Hemmings said.
After Shawn Thomas walked two and hit a batter in the sixth to load the bases with one out, Hemmings went to Crumbley again and the freshman didn’t disappoint.
“We were really just looking for a ground ball, maybe turn two,” Crumbley said. “(I just wanted to) trade a run for an out. (I) came in and shut the first two down which was pretty huge.”
Crumbley struck out the first batter he faced and then got some help from his defense when center fielder Russell Melton robbed ABAC’s Billy Hutchins in the left-center gap of a potential three-run double.
“Russell makes a game-saver (with that catch),” Hemmings said. “That guy in centerfield plays hard all the time. That was a hustle play.”
Darton jumped on ABAC starter Jordan Hicks in the first for four runs after a hectic 11-inning win in Saturday’s opener. The Cavs batted around in the inning and got RBI hits from Kevin Manos, Parker Nix, Casey James and a bases-loaded walk by Davis Knapp.
“That last one was a little too stressful, so we just tried to get on top (early in Game 2),” said Nix, who went 2-for-3 with two RBI in the second game. It made it a little easier on ourselves. We’ve been struggling (with the sticks) a little bit lately, but it seemed like (Saturday) we got the bats going.”
Alfonso Bryant added two hits in Game 2, while Evan Carr went 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
In Game 1, Ramos finally ended things, 5-4, in the 11th by driving home Carr with a game-winning single. Carr singled to start the 11th and then moved to second on a groundout to set up Manos’ run-scoring hit, which was his 53rd RBI of the season.
“I’m just proud as heck of them for coming out and finding a way to win even though it wasn’t our best day,” Hemmings said. “There’s not a whole lot to nit pick and be negative about. We are finding ways to win and that’s all I care about.”
Darton had errors in the first and third innings and ABAC (18-23, 6-14) knocked Cavs’ starter A.J. Sunstrom out in the third before Darton rallied behind a 3-for-6 game at the plate for Manos and two more hits from Nix.
“We drug it out a little more than we wanted to,” Nix said. “We couldn’t find the right hit, just couldn’t catch a break until right there at the end.”
Crumbley pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the win, allowing just one hit with one strikeout.
Darton, which hasn’t had a weekend off in more than a month, will finally get a five-day break after two games this week at home - Tuesday vs. Wallace Dothan and Wednesday vs. Thomas University.
Any plans for the long-awaited weekend off?
“I might go fishing or find a pool somewhere,” Crumbley said.