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BOURNE — As Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) strolled towards home plate in the top of the fifth with the game tied at 2, Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State) walked past him. With Branden Fryman (Samford) leading off third base, Simpson had just struck out on three pitches for the second out of the inning.
As the two crossed paths, Torkelson said to Simpson, “I got you.”
Torkelson lived up to his word.
“Pitcher got behind 3-1,” Torkelson said. “I knew he wasn’t going to put me on so I was sitting dead-red and made him pay.”
The rising sophomore crushed a Trey Benton (East Carolina) pitch a country mile over the left field wall to break the deadlock and put the Anglers up 4-2.
The homer was Torkelson's third home run of the young summer season and Chatham manager Tom Holliday was impressed with the California native's display of power.
“That's what you go see in the big leagues right there,” Holliday said. “He’s that kind of guy. He’s obviously feeling more comfortable with a wooden bat. Anybody who saw that is like 'well that's the way you are supposed to do it.' And he did it.”
Chatham tacked on two more runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh while holding the Braves scoreless over the final three frames to win the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, 7-2.
Bourne got on the board first, when, in the first inning, Anthony Prato (UCONN) blooped a single to right field and then advanced to third on a single from Spencer Brickhouse (East Carolina) before coming around to score on a wild pitch.
Chatham tallied its first runs in the third inning. Fryman — who finished the game 2-2 with a walk and two runs scored — started off the third inning with a deep double to left field, then moved to third on a Greg Jones (UNCW) grounder to the right side. Jorge Arenas (Stetson) then walked to put runners on the corners for Torkelson.
On a 1-2 pitch, Torkelson broke his bat on the swing and the ball weakly trickled towards third base. But the irregular spin on the ball due to the shattered bat sent it past Braves third baseman Jared Triolo (Houston), scoring Fryman and moving Arenas to third.
“[With two stirkes] you are not giving away the inner third but you are not cheating on something so you won't be beat outside so I was looking away,” Torkelson said. “He got me inside and I tried to fight it off and I snapped my bat in half.”
During the next at-bat, Arenas would steal home on a pitch in the dirt that Thaddius Phillips (UCONN) could not handle cleanly.
The Braves tied the game in the fourth. Brickhouse and Danny Oriente (Louisville) reached to start in the inning. Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the two runners over and then Oscar Serratos (Georgia Tech) grounded out to Arenas playing back at second base, scoring Brickhouse.
In the sixth, Ben Ramirez (Southern California) and Adam Fogel (Hawaii) both reached on errors to start the inning. Rylan Thomas (Central Florida) knocked in Ramirez with a sacrifice fly to center and Jake Taylor (Oklahoma State) scored Fogel with a single to right field. A Tristin English (Georgia Tech) singled home Jake Snider (Louisville) in the seventh to tack on another run.
Jack Conlon (San Jacinto) picked up the victory for the Anglers. He threw four innings, allowed six hits and struck out three batters. Spencer Van Scoyoc (Arizona State) threw a scoreless inning of relief and Greg Veliz (Miami) followed Van Scoyoc with two scoreless innings of his own.
Holliday said his team played the game “pretty darn well” and that they are starting to adjust to the wooden bats and the pace of everyday summer ball.
“They are playing at a pace that is comfortable,” Holliday said. “It’s a little bit different pace when you play everyday baseball and they are figuring that out.”