Tigers top Lincoln County
The Marshall County Tigers ran their record to 3-0 on Saturday by defeating the Lincoln County Falcons 7-3 in Fayetteville.
Lincoln County (3-1) held a 3-1 lead through the first two innings of play, but saw their bats go silent over the final five frames while the Tigers outscored the Falcons 6-0 the rest of the way to take home the victory.
"We've played three ballgames and we've been behind all three games, but we've kept our cool and our focus," said MCHS coach Steve Reese. "We got some key bunts down and got some key hits in some big situations."
Marshall County finished with nine hits and six walks against four Lincoln County pitchers, but were also aided by four Falcon errors, which contributed to three of the Tigers' seven runs. Aaron Hobbs and Lane Whitesell tallied two hits apiece to lead MCHS at the plate. Jay Murphy (2 RBI), Dunn Crowder (2 RBI), Bubba Houghton (1 RBI), Grayson Wiles (1 RBI), and Connor Bush notched one hit apiece for Marshall County as well.
Tiger starting pitcher Brooks Leftwich picked up the win on the mound and yielded three runs, two earned, in four plus innings of work on seven hits and a walk to go along with two strikeouts. Hobbs then came on in relief of Leftwich and allowed just a hit and a walk over the final three innings while registering six strikeouts.
"After the first inning, Brooks settled down and pitched well. His pitch count got up in the first inning so he was only able to pitch four innings, but we don't expect anyone to pitch seven innings right now," said Reese.
Jonathan Jacks (2 RBI) and Brandon Gower registered two hits apiece to pace Lincoln County offensively. Falcon relief pitcher Nick Gatlin suffered the loss and gave up three unearned runs over two and two-third innings on two hits and three walks.
The Tigers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Hobbs scored on a RBI groundout by Murphy after singling and advancing to third on a single by Whitesell.
Lincoln County mounted an immediate response and crossed home plate three times in the bottom half of the first with the help of a leadoff single by Gower, a Zack Malone single, a Marshall County error, a two-run single by Jacks, and a Chandler Hardiman RBI single to seize a 3-1 advantage.
MCHS erased the deficit in the top of the third by plating two runs in the frame to tie the game at 3-3. After singling and advancing to second on a passed ball, Hobbs moved to third on a single by Whitesell before coming home on a Wiles RBI infield single. Murphy then drove in Whitesell by lacing a RBI single into left field.
In the top of the fourth, the Tigers grabbed a 4-3 lead when Bush raced home on a Falcon throwing error after drawing a two-out walk and stealing second.
Marshall County then crossed home plate two more times in the fifth inning with the aid of two Lincoln County errors and two-run single by Crowder to stretch their lead to 6-3 before tacking on another run in the top of the sixth on a two-out walk by Isley and a Houghton RBI triple to make it 7-3.
The Falcons tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the seventh and put runners on first and third with two outs thanks to a walk and a single by Carson Taylor, but Hobbs retired Grady Wright on a fly out to end the game.