Princeton gets sixth straight victory; Gators still winless
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 29, 2006 2:01 PM
PRINCETON -- Picked to finish near the top of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference, Princeton's baseball team may not have turned in a dominant performance in their league opener on Tuesday at home against Spring Creek.
But, the Bulldogs' ability to execute -- at the plate, on the bases and in the field -- paid off in a 4-1 win over the Gators.
After dropping a pair of games to perenially-tough Manteo to open the season, Princeton (6-2, 1-0 Carolina) captured its sixth straight win.
"We lost to a pretty good team those first two games, but I think we've played a lot better since that first night," Princeton coach Bruce Proctor said.
Spring Creek (0-9, 0-1) still remains in search of its first win.
A pair of Princeton right-handed hurlers, Ryan Daughtry and Kyle Harmon, proved consistent on the mound and benefited from errorless play from their defense.
Daughtry went the first four innings and picked up the win, yielding no runs on two hits with four strikeouts against just one walk. With the game still scoreless in the fourth, the sophomore ran into trouble just once when Timothy Rogers laced a two-out single up the middle -- moving teammate Alex Casey to third.
After Rogers stole second, setting up second and third, Daughtry (2-0), battling a nagging injury, fanned the final batter he faced to keep the Gators off the board.
"He's had the same injury before. It's back near his shoulder blade. When he finishes his pitches, it really hurts him," Proctor said.
Harmon gave up a two-out single to Josh Gammon in the fifth, bringing home Michael Russell for Spring Creek's lone run, then tossed two scoreless innings to finish off the victory. Harmon gave up two hits, hit two batters, walked one and struck out two.
The Gators left seven on base overall, but just two in scoring position.
Spring Creek's Anthony Brogden kept the Bulldogs scoreless for three innings and tossed a pair of perfect innings in the second and third after pitching around three hits by Princeton in the first.
In the fourth, Colin Parker and Daniel Gerrell scored the home team's first runs. After singling, Parker's aggressiveness on the bases proved key as he stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, then dashed to the plate on an errant throw by the catcher to third.
Gerrell walked, then his courtesy runner, Drew Whaley, advanced to second on a balk and third on another wild pitch. Daughtry brought home Whaley with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Bulldogs tacked on their second and final unearned run in fifth when Gerrell drove in Jared McLamb, who reached on an error, with a sacrifice fly.
Gators' coach Roger May was pleased with Brogden's overall effort.
"I'm expecting Timothy (Rogers) and Anthony (Brogden) to be our one and two," he said. "Anthony did a good job tonight. That was a great outing for him."
Facing Spring Creek lefty Ray Grady, McLamb, who came off the bench in the third to replace Michael Radford when Radford fouled a pitch off his foot, delivered a two-out RBI single to cap the scoring in the sixth.
In 11/3 innings of relief, Grady yielded just one run, but walked three batters. After tossing Spring Creek's sixth walk overall, Rogers got the final out of the sixth.
Despite the loss, May thought his team made solid strides in the league opener.
"We had the best approach we've had all year long. I was proud of the way we competed, but we've just got to do the little things better," he said.
The Bulldogs, ranked seventh in the latest impactbaseball.com 1-A poll, travel to North Duplin on Thursday. The Gators host Ayden-Grifton on Friday.
Spring Creek 000 010 0 -- 1 4 3
Princeton 000 211 x -- 4 6 0
Leading hitters -- Spring Creek -- Timothy Rogers 2-3; Josh Gammon 1-4, RBI. Princeton -- Patrick Gatewood 2-3; Colin Parker 2-3; Daniel Gerrell 1-1, 2B, RBI; Jared McLamb 1-3, RBI.
IP H R ER BB SO
Spring Creek (0-9, 0-1)
A. Brogden (L) 41/3 5 3 1 2 1
R. Grady 11/3 1 1 1 3 1
T. Rogers 1/3 0 0 0 1 0
Princeton (6-2, 1-0)
R. Daughtry (W, 2-0) 4 2 0 0 1 4
K. Harmon 3 2 1 1 1 2
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