Tigers top Richland, sweep series

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Marshall County third baseman Trent Richardson tags out Richland's Cade Landers after receiving a pick-off throw from catcher Derrick McKnight in the top of the third inning. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After suffering disheartening losses to Spring Hill and Lewis County the previous two days, the Marshall County Tigers (15-7) mended some of their wounds by defeating Richland 9-4 at home on Friday afternoon to complete the season sweep of the Raiders (11-13).

The Tigers trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the second, but quickly rectified the situation and crossed home plate eight times over the next two innings to seize a 9-3 advantage before cruising to the five-run victory.

Heavy hitters

Bolstered by their early offensive surge, Marshall County pounded out 11 hits overall against two Richland hurlers. Freshman Trent Richardson spearheaded MCHS' offensive attack by going 3-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored. Connor Bush (1 RBI), Grayson Wiles (1 RBI), and Bubba Houghton tallied two hits apiece for the Tigers as well, while starting pitcher Chandler Harmon (2 RBI) and Cameron Isley each had one hit.

"Today was one of those days where I tried to play a lot of other people and let some of our starters rest," said Marshall County coach Steve Reese. "Luckily things went our way and I was impressed with how some of the younger guys played. Trent Richardson really hit the ball well and played good defense."

Raider starting pitcher Zack Gordon suffered the loss after allowing nine runs, seven earned, over three innings on nine hits and two walks.

The Raiders finished with nine hits and two walks overall against four MCHS pitchers. Whit Gibson went 3-for-4 to pace Richland at the plate, while Bryce Bub and Caleb Briggs each notched two hits and a RBI.

Winning hurler

Harmon picked up the win on the mound for the Tigers and yielded three runs, one earned, in three innings of work on four hits and two walks. Stuart Warner then came on in relief of Harmon and gave up one run over two innings, while Brayden Gentry and Aaron Hobbs both tossed one scoreless inning.

The Raiders made an early charge and scored two runs in the top of the first inning with the help of a hit batsman, a single by Bub, a William McRae infield single, a passed ball, and an error to grab a 2-0 lead.

Marshall County's Connor Bush slides safely into second while stealing a base in the bottom of the third inning against Richland.

Marshall County narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the first when Bush raced home on a passed ball after roping a leadoff triple into the right centerfield gap.

Richland stretched their lead to 3-1 in the top of the second on a RBI groundout by Bub, but the Tigers quickly counterpunched and pushed across three runs in the bottom half of the frame behind a Wiles triple, a RBI single by Richardson, a Houghton single, a wild pitch, and a pair of RBI groundouts by Limbaugh and Bush to pull ahead 4-3.

Threat ends

The Raiders had a chance to tie the game in the top of the third after putting runners on first and third with two outs thanks to a single by Gibson and a Tiger error. Briggs then drew a walk to load the bases, but courtesy runner Cade Landers was picked off third by Tiger catcher Derrick McKnight to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, Marshall County broke the game open by crossing home plate five times in the frame on the strength of an error, a walk, a Harmon two-run double, a RBI double by Wiles, a Richardson infield single, a bloop RBI single by Houghton, and a passed ball to forge a 9-3 lead.

Richland trimmed the deficit to 9-4 in the top of the fifth on a RBI single by Briggs, but Marshall County's bullpen held the Raiders scoreless over the final two innings to wrap up the win.