LAURINBURG — Justin Walke and the Terry Sanford defense got out of a bases-loaded situation in the final inning Tuesday and were able to leave Laurinburg with a 3-2 victory.
With the bases loaded and two outs already gone, Walke made Grant English pop up the ball to first baseman Joseph Riddle, who made the easy catch in foul territory for the final out of the game.
Logan Hatcher had reached first on a fielders choice play earlier in the inning, and then H.B. Stone was walked before Dylan Ward recorded his third hit of the day. That moved Hatcher to third, but Stone was picked off at second base after he overshot the bag and turned back.
That was the second out of the seventh inning, and brought Nolan Pierce to the plate. Pierce, who had driven in both of Scotland’s runs earlier in the game, was intentionally walked by Terry Sanford, loading up the bases.
However, Scotland was unable to find the one run it needed to tie the game.
The Scots (0-2) have two games left on the schedule before starting conference play at Purnell Swett on March 21. Scotland coach Jamie Coleman said the team is working to correct its mistakes before then, although they still strive to win every game, conference or not.
“We want to win every game and we’re good enough and talented enough to win, but we just have to execute the little things. Last night it was errors in the field, tonight it was errors in the base path. Against good quality ball teams, well-coached teams, you’re going to get beat,” Coleman said.
Walke recorded the final two outs of the seventh inning for the Bulldogs, while Trey Davis started the game and kept the Scots off of the scoreboard for all but one inning. Davis finished with three strikeouts, one walk and five hits through 6 and 1-3 innings of work.
Tuesday’s game was the second meeting of the two teams in as many days, as the Bulldogs also beat the Scots on Monday, 8-5. The first game was marked by Scotland fielding mistakes that put them behind early. Tuesday’s first inning looked like it was going to be more of the same, as lead-off batter Austin Warren was hit by an English pitch and the next batter, Andrew Henrickson, reached on an error. Riddle singled to left field to drive in Cole Brown for the game’s first run.
Riddle recorded his second RBI of the day in the third inning when he singled up the middle to score Davis from third base. Davis had reached first base after a fielding error and then stole second base. Jayson Lagusis came up after Riddle and drove in Brown with his deep drive to center field. That made it 3-0 in favor of the visitors.
Scotland answered back in the bottom half of the inning to make it a one run game when Pierce blasted a ball over the left field fencing for a two-run home run. Ward was on first base after reaching on an error by the shortstop.
English took control of the game after the third inning, as he only allowed one more hit over the final four frames. He also retired the side in each of the last three innings.
“He struggled early finding the zone and getting behind in the count, but he recovered and threw really well as the game progressed. He has a strong arm and he’s a competitor and a bulldog up there,” Coleman said.
His pitching kept Scotland in the game, but the offense was unable to scratch another run across. Their best chance came in the seventh inning, but they also had runners in scoring position in the fourth. However, Tripp McDonald’s short line drive was caught by Davis, who then turned and threw to his second baseman who easily tagged Sam Gray out at second base.
Scotland travels to Marlboro on March 19 for a 7 p.m. game before returning home the next day to face Lee County at 5 p.m.