Dusters reel in Mudcats
The Marshall County Dusters kicked off their 2012 summer season by defeating the Middle Tennessee Mudcats 8-2 at Columbia Central High School on Thursday afternoon in their opening pool game of the Southern Athletic Fields Invitational.
Marshall County held a 3-1 lead through the first three innings of play before outscoring the Mudcats 5-1 over the next three frames to pull away for the six-run victory.
Left fielder Aaron Hobbs led the Dusters' 10-hit attack by going 3-for-3 with three stolen bases, 1 RBI, and two runs scored. Aaron Thomason also went 2-for-4 with a homerun and 3 RBI, while Matt Sharp added two singles, 2 RBI, and two runs scored. Morgan Reese (1 RBI), Brandon Bush (1 RBI), and Dylan McKnight each had one hit for Marshall County as well with Reese belting a solo homerun.
Duster starting pitcher Cody Vernon picked up the victory on the mound after allowing just one run on four hits and a walk over three and one-third innings to go along with six strikeouts. Ryan McDaniel then came on in relief of Vernon and racked up eight strikeouts over the final three and two-thirds innings while yielding one unearned run on three hits.
"I thought we played pretty well especially considering we haven't played in two weeks," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "We swung the bats well, got good pitching, and played good defense."
Jamie Kent tallied two hits and a RBI to pace Middle Tennessee at the plate.
Thomason staked the Dusters to an early 2-0 lead when he blasted a two-run shot over the left field fence in the bottom of the first inning after Sharp drew a leadoff walk.
The Mudcats scored a run in the top of the second to narrow the gap to 2-1, but Marshall County responded with a run in the bottom half of the frame to open up a 3-1 advantage. After leading off the inning with a single, Hobbs stole second prior to racing home on a RBI single by Sharp.
Middle Tennessee left runners on the corners in the top of the fourth inning before the Dusters broke the game open by pushing across four runs in the bottom half of the frame thanks to a bases loaded walk by Bush and RBI singles from Hobbs, Sharp, and Thomason to forge a 7-1 lead.
The Mudcats plated a run in the top of the sixth with the help of a Marshall County throwing error and a RBI single by Kent to trim the deficit to 7-2, but Reese clubbed a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to give the Dusters an 8-2 cushion.
McDaniel then worked around a leadoff single in the top of the seventh to sew up Marshall County's victory.