Dusters shut down Murfreesboro Central Magnet
With the Senior Babe Ruth Southeast Regional tournament looming on the horizon later in the week, the Marshall County Dusters (17-6-1) tuned up for the event by defeating the Murfreesboro Central Magnet Tigers 7-0 in five innings on Monday night in the first game of a doubleheader at Joe George Field.
Duster starting pitcher Cody Vernon and relievers Ryan McDaniel and Dylan McKnight kept Central Magnet's offense under wraps and combined to throw a one-hitter. Vernon picked up the victory on the mound and notched five strikeouts in two innings of work while allowing one walk. McDaniel then came in and yielded one hit over two scoreless innings before McKnight took the hill and gave up one walk in the final frame.
Marshall County, meanwhile, tallied six hits and drew nine walks against Tiger starting hurler Alex Ropp and reliever Ben Slayton. Matt Sharp, Jesse Kilpatrick, Aaron Thomason, Brandon Bush, Vernon, and Bubba Houghton each had one hit for the Dusters with Sharp, Bush, and Houghton driving in one run apiece.
"We hit the ball well considering that we've been off for a week," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese. "All of our pitchers threw well tonight and we got everybody some work because we're getting ready for the Southeast Regional tournament."
Josh Green singled to account for Central Magnet's lone hit of the game. Ropp suffered the loss on the mound, allowing five runs over three innings on five hits and five walks.
The Dusters wasted no time getting on the board and pushed across a run in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 1-0 lead. Following a two-out single by Thomason, Bush belted a RBI triple into the right centerfield gap.
Marshall County then opened up a 4-0 advantage in the second inning by tallying three runs in the frame on two hits and two walks. After Vernon and Richardson drew walks, courtesy runner Zack Kirby scored on a RBI single by Houghton to make it 2-0 before Sharp roped a RBI double down the left field line to drive in Richardson. Houghton was tagged out after getting caught in a rundown on a botched suicide squeeze, but Sharp advanced to third on the play prior to racing home on a wild pitch.
The Dusters stretched their lead to 5-0 in the third inning when Thomason scored on a double steal after drawing a leadoff walk and advancing to third on a passed ball and a fielder's choice by J.B. Reese.
In the fourth inning, Marshall County tacked on two more runs with the help of four walks, a Kilpatrick infield single, and a passed ball to forge a 7-0 advantage.
McKnight then worked around a two-out walk in the top of the fifth to keep the mercy rule in effect.