PEMBROKE — After struggling to find the timely hit for most of the game, and the tying run 90 feet from scoring with two outs, the Scotland baseball team took an unconventional gamble hoping to catch Purnell Swett off guard.
The gamble came up just a few feet short as Donta Green tried to steal home and was tagged out by Purnell Swett catcher Bladen Strickland on an 0-2 count to seal the Rams’ 1-0 Southeastern Conference win on Thursday night.
“In a game like this, it’s tough to string consecutive hits together, and we had something that we thought,” Scotland coach Chad Hill said. “We left six guys on in the first three innings, so we tried to find something at the very end and hope we caught them sleeping.”
Green reached base in the top of the seventh on after ripping a one-out double to the center-field wall. He moved to third on a ground out to the pitcher off the bat of Daly Marcano before attempting to steal home with Justin Bowers at the plate.
The Scots (6-3, 1-1 SEC) left seven runners on base in the game, six coming in the first three innings with prime opportunities to push them across.
The most promising scoring opportunity for Scotland came in the top of the second as Aaron Locklear and Zach Phillips started the frame with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second base with no outs, but Purnell Swett (7-2, 1-1 SEC) starter Lucas Oxendine got three straight outs, including two strikeouts, to avoid the danger.
“Oxendine’s a really good guy and good pitchers make good pitches in crunch time and he definitely did that so you have to tip your hat to him,” Hill said.
Oxendine struck out eight batters in his seven innings of work and allowed seven hits and one walk.
The Rams plated the one run needed to secure the win in the bottom of the first with the first two at-bats of the game. Matthias Carter led off with a single, and two pitches in the dirt that Phillips couldn’t handle behind the plate moved him to third base before scoring on a single through the infield from Ethan Chavis.
Cross Holfert pitched the first two innings and allowed the lone run of the game before Nicholas Charleson came in to pitch four innings of one-hit baseball.
“He just mixed them up,” Hill said of Charleson. “They hit some balls hard and we made some great plays, but he was able to throw his off speed for strikes and kept them off balance.”
Bowers and Phillips both had two hits to lead the Scots’ bats in the game.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.