Lincoln County holds off Tigers

Friday, March 23, 2012
Marshall County third baseman Ryan McDaniel hauls in a throw from catcher Brandon Bush before tagging out Lincoln County's Jake Logan on a stolen base attempt in the top of the third inning. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Marshall County Tigers (3-3) had their modest two-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night when they dropped a 7-6 decision to the Lincoln County Falcons (4-4) at home.

Aided by a six-run first inning, Lincoln County held a 7-2 lead through the first five innings of play and appeared headed for an easy victory, but had to stave off a late Tiger rally to escape with the win.

"We fought back and didn't quit tonight. If we don't have that bad first inning, we probably win the game," said MCHS coach Steve Reese. "Lincoln County has a good ballclub though and is right up there with Blackman and Columbia."

Despite their late offensive flurry, Marshall County finished with only five hits against four Falcon pitchers to go along with four walks and a hit batsman.

Catcher Brandon Bush was a factor at the plate and in the field for the Tigers, as he went 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI, and a run scored, while throwing out three Lincoln County base runners on steal attempts. J.B Reese, Aaron Thomason, and Cody Vernon had one hit apiece for MCHS as well with Thomason and Vernon each driving in a run.

Falcon starting hurler Zach Mabar pitched five solid innings to earn the victory, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts.

Lincoln County also tallied just five hits, but took advantage of five walks and two Marshall County errors, which contributed to three of the Falcons' seven runs.

Chris Kleeman belted a homerun and had 2 RBI to pace Lincoln County's offense, while Jake Logan, L.J. Sharp, Brandon Gower, and Josh Whitney all singled.

MCHS starting pitcher Aaron Medley did not record an out and yielded four runs on four walks en route to suffering the loss. Marshall County's bullpen helped keep them within striking distance, as Morgan Reese, Thomason, and Ryan McDaniel combined to give up three runs in seven innings of work while recording four strikeouts.

The Falcons got off to a flying start and crossed home plate six times in the top of the first inning with the help of four walks, two Marshall County errors, a Dylan Hudgins sacrifice fly, and a single by Gower to grab a 6-0 lead.

Marshall County trimmed the deficit to 6-1 in the bottom of the first when J.B. Reese scored on a RBI double by Bush after blasting a one-out triple to centerfield.

The Tigers then held Lincoln County scoreless over the next three innings before plating a run in the bottom of the fourth on a Morgan Reese walk, a passed ball, a stolen base, and a RBI single by Vernon to narrow the gap to 6-2.

Kleeman cranked a solo homerun over the left field fence in the top of the fifth to stretch the Falcons' lead to 7-2, but Marshall County came storming back in the bottom of the sixth and pushed across four runs in the frame to slice the deficit to 7-6. Bush led off the sixth with an infield single before racing home on a RBI double by Thomason to make it 7-3. After Vernon and McDaniel both drew walks to load the bases with no outs, Dylan McKnight plated Thomason with a RBI groundout. Pinch runner Bubba Houghton then scored on a passed ball to close the gap to 7-5 before Sharp drove in courtesy runner Aaron Hobbs with an RBI groundout.

That proved to be the last hurrah for the Tigers, however, as Kleeman took the mound in the top of the seventh and retired MCHS in order to secure the Falcon victory.