Tigers shutout Hickman County
Coming off a 9-2 victory over Hickman County the previous evening, the Marshall County Tigers completed the regular season sweep of their District 12-AA rival on Tuesday night by defeating the Bulldogs 5-0 at home on the strength of a dominant pitching performance from starting hurler Dylan McKnight.
With Tuesday's triumph, the Tigers (9-6) extended their current winning streak to three games and ran their record to 7-1 in District play.
"We're in a situation where we can't afford to split with anybody else if we want to win the regular season District title," said MCHS coach Steve Reese. "We just have to take it one game at a time and hope for the best."
McKnight tossed his second shutout of the season to improve his record to 4-0 overall, as he limited Hickman County to just four hits in seven scoreless innings of work while racking up 10 strikeouts and issuing no walks. Marshall County's defense also aided McKnight's cause by turning three double plays.
"Dylan has pitched well all year long and I hope he keeps pitching well," said Reese. "His curveball has been breaking a lot, but tonight it fell off the table."
The Tigers, meanwhile, mustered just two hits overall against Bulldog starting pitcher Aaron Hays and reliever Ethan Owens, but showed good patience at the plate and drew 11 walks in the contest.
Catcher Brandon Bush and first baseman Jay Murphy both singled to account for MCHS' two hits with Bush driving in three runs. Morgan Reese also walked in all four at bats and had 2 RBI.
Hays suffered the loss on the mound, yielding five runs on one hit and 10 walks over four innings to go along with seven strikeouts.
Kellen Beard had a pair of hits to pace Hickman County at the plate, while Blane Wright and Cody White each had one hit.
The Bulldogs best chance to get on the board came in the top of the first inning when Beard and Wright both singled to put runners on first and second with one out.
Hickman County, though, came away empty handed, as McKnight induced Colton Miley to hit into a 5-6-3 double play to escape the jam unscathed.
Hays then held MCHS scoreless in each of the first two innings, but his wildness caught up to him in the bottom of the third when the Tigers scored two runs in the frame without the benefit of a hit to take a 2-0 lead. After Hays issued walks to Jesse Kilpatrick, Matt Sharp, and Aaron Thomason to load the bases with one out, Morgan Reese drew another free pass to bring home Kilpatrick before Bush plated Sharp with a sacrifice fly.
In the fourth, Hays once again had trouble finding the strike zone while Marshall County crossed home plate three more times with the help of four walks and a two-run single by Bush to open up a 5-0 lead.
That proved to be all the run support McKnight would need, as he did not allow a Bulldog runner to advance past first base over the final three innings to close out the MCHS victory.