BENNETTSVILLE — Scotland scored four runs in the first inning as they went on to pickup the first victory of the season on a cold night in Marlboro County.
The Scots left South Carolina with a 9-1 victory thanks to aggressive base running and dominant pitching.
Scotland set the tone for the game right away as they sent four runners home in the opening inning and stole five bases. Scotland batted through the order in that frame while collecting two hits and having four runners walked on balls.
The Scots accounted for a total of nine stolen bases on the evening. The Bulldogs often did not try to prevent the steal, and when pitcher Dylan Ellis tried to pick off Cross Holfert on a break to second base in the fourth inning, Nolan Pierce made them pay by easily stealing home right after the throw left Ellis’ hand.
Scotland coach Jamie Coleman said he realized early on the Scots were going to be able to pick up bases with their legs.
“We have good speed so we were able to take advantage of that, and we should be able to do that more often,” Coleman said.
Dylan Ward started on the mound and picked up the win after throwing five innings of nearly-flawless baseball. Ward struck out seven batters while walking one and allowing one hit. He was perfect through four innings until Daniel Lewis singled to left field to lead off the fifth inning. Ward walked the next batter before eventually getting out of the inning.
He was relieved by Pierce to start the sixth inning. Pierce struck out three and walked four. Marlboro scored its sole run in the final inning on a walk.
H.B. Stone hit a two-run single in the fifth inning after an extended battle at the plate to make it 7-0. Scotland tacked two more on in the sixth when Tripp McDonald flew out to center field and allowed Holfert to come home. Grant English then scored from third after Marlboro’s third baseman missed the ball on a throw intended to catch English.
The win was the first for the Scotland team (1-3) after two losses to Terry Sanford last week. Coleman said it was important that the team get in the win column.
“We talked a lot in practice about our abilities and playing better so it was really good to pickup the win,” Coleman said.
Multiple Scotland batters picked up multiple hits on the game. Holfert, Stone, English and McDonald all picked up two hits each.
Scotland’s game originally scheduled for tonight against Lee County was rescheduled to April 28. The Scots travel to Purnell Swett Friday to open the Southeastern Conference season.