Dusters tie Columbia
Having split their first two pool games in the Southern Athletic Fields Invitational, the Marshall County Dusters had to settle for a tie in their third contest, as they battled tournament host Columbia Central to a 1-1 tie on Friday afternoon before the game was called at the end of the 10th inning due to time restrictions.
Marshall County outhit the Lions 10-3 overall, but failed to cash in on several scoring opportunities and left 13 men on base. First baseman Cody Vernon went 3-for-3 to lead the Dusters at the plate, while Brandon Bush and Bubba Houghton both notched two hits. Matt Sharp, Jesse Kilpatrick, and starting pitcher Dylan McKnight each had one hit for the Dusters as well.
Although he had to settle for a no decision, McKnight turned in a strong performance on the mound, as he yielded just one unearned run on three hits and two walks over eight innings while recording seven strikeouts. Sharp then came on in relief of McKnight and notched two strikeouts in two perfect innings of work.
"Our pitching was good, but we just didn't score enough runs and committed a few errors that cost us," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "You've got to make the routine plays if you want to win a close ballgame. Dylan and Matt both pitched great though."
The Dusters got on the board first by tallying a run in the top of the second inning to grab a 1-0 lead. Following a leadoff walk by McKnight, courtesy runner Blake Darnell advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Vernon, before moving to third on a Columbia error while Aaron Hobbs reached first base on the play. Darnell then scored on a double steal when the Lions tried unsuccessfully to throw out Hobbs at second base.
In the bottom of the second, Columbia loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a pair of walks and a catcher's interference call, but McKnight retired the next Lion batter on an infield popup to escape the inning unscathed.
Columbia eventually tied the contest at 1-1 by pushing across a run in the bottom of the fourth inning with the help of a single, two sacrifice bunts, and a Marshall County throwing error.
After McKnight worked around a two-out double by Bradey Gill in the bottom of the fifth, the Dusters left men in scoring position in each of next two innings.
The Lions had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh after loading the bases with two outs on a Cameron Bair single and two Duster errors, but McKnight struck out Jonathan Davis to snuff out the Columbia threat.
Marshall County then stranded four runners on base over the next three frames before the game's time limit expired at the end of the 10th inning.