Mudcats blank Perry County
After beating Murfreesboro Central Magnet and Harpeth two days earlier , the Middle Tennessee Mudcats won their four-team pool in the Rocket Summer Classic by defeating the Perry County Vikings 6-0 on Saturday morning at Forrest High School.
Mudcat starting pitcher Tanner Garvin turned in a stellar performance on the mound and racked up nine strikeouts in seven innings of work while limiting Perry County to just four hits and no walks en route to earning the victory.
"I think pitching is going to be one of the strengths of our team and hopefully it carries over until next Spring," said Middle Tennessee coach Chris Parker.
Aided by a four-run fifth inning, the Mudcats finished with eight hits and two walks against Viking starting hurler Cameron Wilson and reliever Randal Scott to go along with two Perry County errors.
Austin Welty led Middle Tennessee at the plate by going 2-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored, while Alex Brewer added an inside the park solo home run. Austin Harber (1 RBI), Ryan Yelensky (1 RBI), Bryce Oliver (1 RBI), Boone Sweeney, and Garvin tallied one hit apiece for the Mudcats as well.
"We finally put some good swings on the ball later in the game. Their pitcher was throwing a lot of off speed stuff and we started waiting back on the ball," said Parker.
Scott, Wilson, Alex Broadway, and Hunter Lane each notched one hit for the Vikings. Wilson suffered the loss on the mound and yielded six runs over five innings.
Middle Tennessee went down in order in the first inning, but pushed across a run in the bottom of the second to seize a 1-0 lead. Following a ground rule double by Sweeney, courtesy runner Caleb Keller advanced to third on a groundout by Oliver before Garvin drew a walk. Keller then scored when Wilson was called for a balk on a Garvin steal attempt.
Garvin worked around a leadoff single by Broadway in the top of the fourth with the help of a 5-3 double play before the Mudcats plated another run in the bottom half of the frame to open up a 2-0 advantage. After loading the bases on a Yelensky bunt single, a walk by Brewer, and a hit batsman, Oliver slapped a single into centerfield to drive in Yelensky.
In the bottom of the fifth, Middle Tennessee broke the game open by crossing home plate four times in the frame to stretch their lead to 6-0. Jesse Pruitt reached second base on a Viking error before stealing third and scoring on a RBI bunt single by Welty. After plating Welty with a RBI triple, Harber raced home on a sacrifice fly by Yelensky to make it 5-0. Brewer then rounded the bases when Perry County's centerfielder allowed the ball to roll to the fence after missing a diving catch attempt on a low line drive.
The Vikings appeared they might get on the board in the top of the seventh and put runners on first and third with one out thanks to singles from Scott and Layne, but Garvin fanned the next two Perry County batters to preserve the shutout.