Bulldogs blank Richland

Friday, April 18, 2014
Cornersville catcher Aaron Fox tags Richland's William McRae while McRae attempts to steal home in the top of the sixth inning. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Staff ace David Looney helped Cornersville move closer to claiming the District 11-A regular season title on Wednesday afternoon, as he tossed a two-hit shutout to lead the first place Bulldogs to a 6-0 win over the Richland Raiders at home.

Cornersville (12-8, 8-1 District) held a just a 1-0 lead through the first five innings of play, but busted the game wide open by crossing home plate five times in the bottom of the sixth en route to claiming their second straight win over Richland (10-12, 6-5 District).

Important win

"Every District win is important. It's real tight this year and we have a lot of teams hanging around at the top," said CHS coach Ben Putman. "I would have liked to score some runs earlier in the game, but it's better late than never."

Although he issued five walks, Looney rarely allowed Raider hitters to make solid contact and racked up 12 strikeouts over seven innings to earn his seventh victory of the year.

"David did a great job. He got into a couple of tough jams and got out of them. That's his second quality start in a row," said Putman.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, finished with eight hits and two walks against Richland starting hurler William McRae, who suffered the loss. Tyler Lowery did the most damage at the plate for Cornersville by going 2-for-4 with a double, 3 RBI and a run scored. Curt Taylor tallied two hits for the Bulldogs as well, while Tate Lowery (1 RBI), Aaron Fox (1 RBI), Ben Taylor (1 RBI), and Hunter Talley notched one hit apiece.

Threat squelched

After the Bulldogs left at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first two innings, Richland had a chance to get on the board in the top of the third when they put men on first and second with no outs thanks to a Briggs infield single and an error. The Raiders were unable to cash in on the opportunity, as Looney retired the next three Richland batters on a groundout and a pair of strikeouts to escape the inning unscathed.

Cornersville's Hunter Talley slides safely into third base while advancing 90 feet on a bunt by Jody Sullivan in the bottom of the sixth inning.

In the bottom of the third, Cornersville grabbed a 1-0 lead when Tyler Lowery raced home on a RBI bloop double by Fox after roping a two-out single into left field and stealing second.

Richland then stranded a runner in scoring position in the top of the fifth, but had another opportunity to tie the game in the sixth inning when McRae drew a one-out walk and stole second. After advancing to third on a groundout by Chance Derryberry, McRae made a risky move and tried to steal home before Looney delivered the ball to home plate. The gamble backfired on the Raiders, as Looney quickly threw the ball to Fox, who tagged out McRae to end the inning.

Run explosion

CHS then opened the floodgates in the bottom of the sixth and pushed across five runs in the frame to forge a 6-0 advantage. Following a leadoff single by Talley, Curt Taylor was hit by a pitch before McRae unsuccessfully tried to throw out Talley at third on a sacrifice bunt to Sullivan to load the bases with no outs. After Ben Taylor and Tate Lowery delivered consecutive one-out RBI singles to make it 3-0, Tyler Lowery cleared the bags by belting a three-run double to deep centerfield.

Richland tried to mount a rally in the top of the seventh and loaded the bases with two outs on two walks and a Rose infield single, but Looney retired Zack Gordon on a groundout to keep the shutout intact.