Upperman halts Bulldogs in Rocket/Tiger Holiday Classic

Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Cornersville's Jacob Griffis belts a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning against Upperman. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Cornersville Bulldogs (8-5) dropped their third straight game at the Rocket/Tiger Holiday Classic on Saturday morning when they lost 5-2 to the Upperman Bees at Joe George Field.

After the two teams played to a 1-1 tie through the first four innings of play, Upperman (6-2) took control of the game down the stretch and outscored CHS 4-1 over the final three frames to claim the victory.

Another struggle

Having scored a total of just two runs in their two previous games, Cornersville once again struggled at the plate and finished with only five hits against Bee starting pitcher Peyton Land and reliever Zach Wallace. Jacob Griffis led CHS offensively by going 2-for-3 with a homerun and a RBI, while Tyler Lowery added a triple and a run scored. Tate Lowery (1 RBI) and Cody Blackburn both singled for the Bulldogs as well.

"We've seen three pitchers that are definitely better than what we've seen so far. That's why you play these games in order to get better," said Cornersville coach Ben Putman.

Land picked up the victory on the mound for Upperman, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings of work. Wallace then came on in relief of Land and yielded one hit in the bottom of the seven inning.

Senior hurler Matt Callender made a successful debut on the mound for Cornersville after being sidelined for the first three weeks of the season due to a shoulder injury, as he gave up one unearned run over two innings on two hits to go along with two strikeouts.

Back in action

"Matt had a promising first start. This was kind of a rehab start and we'll ease him back in. We'll start to increase his workload as the season goes on," said Putman.

Bulldog relief pitcher David Looney suffered his first loss of the season and allowed four runs in five innings of work on seven hits and four walks while notching five strikeouts. CHS also made their pitching staff's job harder by committing four errors, which contributed to two of the Bee's five runs.

Ryan Lafever (1 RBI), Adam Gothard, and Jay Lee each had two hits to pace Upperman at the plate.

Upperman grabbed an early 1-0 lead by plating a run in the top of the first inning with the help of a Gothard single, a wild pitch, and two Cornersville errors.

Solo homer

Cornersville third baseman Zach Richards throws out Upperman's Adam Gothard at first base in the top of the sixth inning.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third when Griffis blasted a solo shot over the left field fence for his second homer of the season.

Cornersville then left runners on first and second in the bottom of the fourth before the Bees pushed across two runs in the top of the fifth on a Joe Jones RBI double and a RBI single by Lafever to seize a 3-1 advantage.

In the top of the sixth, Upperman tallied another run thanks to a pair of singles by Dylan Hedgecloth and Lee and a RBI double by Jared Case to stretch their lead to 4-1.

CHS narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Tyler Lowery scored on a RBI single by Tate Lowery after belting a triple into the right centerfield gap.

The Bees then tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh with the aid of two walks, an infield single by Lafever, and a Bulldog error to open up a 5-2 advantage before Wallace worked around a leadoff single by Griffis in the bottom half of the frame to close out the win for Upperman.