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Wallace State’s baseball team sweeps Motlow State in season opener behind Porter, Belue

HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State sophomore pitchers Luke Porter and Hunter Belue dominated Motlow State on Thursday as the Lions opened the 2015 season with a sweep at James C. Bailey Stadium, winning 3-0 and 4-3.

Porter, who converted from catcher to pitcher in the offseason, started the opener and went five scoreless innings. Porter (1-0), who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, yielded only two hits and one walk while striking out three. 

Wesley Waters, a West Point graduate, sealed the shutout, earning a save for the Lions with two scoreless innings.

Wallace State (2-0) won the nightcap 4-3 when shortstop Tanner Gardner scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh.

Belue (1-0) dominated out of the bullpen for the Lions in the second game. The sophomore right-hander, a Georgia native, tossed four scoreless innings of relief, striking out three and allowing six hits.

Freshman Will Eiland started for the Lions in the second game.

"It was good to get a couple of wins to hopefully get a little confidence brewing. It was a difficult day to play as cold and as windy as it was. You couldn't ask for more out of Luke Porter than what he gave us for us his first start, and Hunter Belue was the story of the second game. Hunter gave us a huge lift," said Wallace State coach Randy Putman. "We didn't score a lot of runs, but we did enough to win both games."

In the opener, Wallace State scored pair of runs in the second to grab a 2-0 lead. Freshman catcher Billy Reed drove in the first run of the season with a single to left field, and Lane Wallace added an RBI on a fielder's choice later in the inning. 

Wallace State scored its final run in the fourth. Jon Sumner cracked a one-out double to right field and scored on an RBI single by Lance Cleveland two batters later.

Sunmer and Reed each finished with a pair of hits in their Wallace State debuts, while Wallace, Gardner, Drake Tucker, Turner Vincent, Chris Blakey and Brady Beddingfield added a single apiece.

Sumner, Reed and Vincent each had a stolen base.

In the second game, Gardner was 2 for 3 with three runs scored and Blakey added an RBI double. Vincent and Reed each had a stolen base.

Wallace State trailed 3-2 before tying things up in the bottom of the fifth.

In the seventh, Wallace State's Sumner struck out for the possible third out, but the ball popped away from Motlow State's catcher, allowing Sumner to reach safely and for Gardner to tally the winning run.

Wallace State hosts Volunteer State at 1 p.m. Saturday. The teams will play a doubleheader and close the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. with a single game.