02/28/07 — C.B. Aycock opens season with victory over Wilson Fike

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C.B. Aycock opens season with victory over Wilson Fike

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 28, 2007 2:39 PM

PIKEVILLE -- As the final chords of The Star Spangled Banner echoed through the trees behind Charles B. Aycock's stadium Tuesday afternoon, Grant Sasser put on his hat and walked toward the pitcher's mound.

The N.C. State signee grabbed the rosin bag, tapped it on his hands to soak up the sweat and tossed it toward the back of the mound. Sasser went threw his warm-up and his first official pitch of the 2007 season just missed the outside corner of the plate.

Sasser didn't mind.

"I've been waiting for a long time to get back out there, especially in a real game," said Sasser. "Throwing that first pitch and getting that first batter out felt real good."

Sasser threw 49 pitches in a three-inning stint and received a no-decision in the Golden Falcons' 6-0, season-opening conquest of Class 3-A rival Wilson Fike. C.B. Aycock (1-0 overall) returns to action Saturday against perennial 3-A power Jamestown Ragsdale in the Impact Baseball Classic at Fleming Stadium in Wilson. First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m.

A senior left-hander, Sasser mixed his pitches well and kept the Golden Demon batters guessing in the box. He fanned five of the 10 batters he faced and retired the last seven in a row after yielding a first-inning, two-out single to Jacob Davis.

Sasser induced three groundouts and one fly ball to shallow center field.

"I just tried to mix up the count some, throw some different pitches and not let them know exactly what was coming," said Sasser, who threw 35 strikes and 14 balls. "I could tell I got a little tired in the third inning. I warmed up a little bit too much (before the game)."

Bullpen mates Garrett Davis and Brandon Price combined for four innings of one-hit, four-strikeout relief. Davis, now fully recovered from an ACL injury sustained during the American Legion baseball season, claimed the mound win.

Price, who encountered shoulder problems during the fall, retired the first five batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings combined.

"Everybody knows it's not a secret that pitching is going to be our strong point," said Aycock head coach Charles Davis. "We've got three pitchers who compliment each other well. We're trying to build to some confidence and stamina in them.

"I was very pleased with the job they did."

The Golden Demons (0-1) struggled to put the ball in play during the 1-hour, 33-minute contest. Fike had just three base runners and left two stranded in scoring position.

"Those three pitchers are as good as we'll see all year, and we saw all three last year, at times, in the two games we played against them," said Fike head coach Will Flowers. "Pitching, they've got it. I thought our two pitchers threw the ball fine, but just didn't make some plays for them."

Fike right-hander Bentley Massey retired the Golden Falcons in order in the first. But the Golden Demon defense misplayed three ground balls behind him in the second inning, which led to five unearned runs.

Aycock's Bradley Taylor provided the big blow -- a two-out, three-run homer over the center-field fence to make it 5-0.

"You've got to keep a game close against those three guys they threw at us today," said Flowers. "We shot ourselves in the foot and gave them some runs. You can't give teams like that extra outs."

Jay Rose delivered a third-inning RBI single, which scored Garrett Davis for the final 6-0 margin. Massey (0-1) departed after the third and right-handed reliever Jacob Davis supplied three innings of no-hit, five-strikeout relief.

Aycock left three runners on base against Davis.

"We did square up some balls at the plate, got some balls down and made some things happen," said Aycock's coach Davis. "Defensively, we played good. It was a good first game, but I told the guys we've still got a long way to go.

"I told them not to be satisfied."

Fike 000 000 0 -- 0 2 3

C.B. Aycock 051 000 x -- 6 3 0

Leading hitters -- Wilson Fike -- Jacob Davis 1-3; Thomas Moore 1-3. C.B. Aycock -- Bradley Taylor 1-3, HR, 3 RBI; Garrett Davis 1-2, 2B; Jay Rose 1-3, RBI.

LOB -- Wilson Fike 3, C.B. Aycock 4. SB -- Rose. SH -- Narron.


Wilson Fike

Massey (L, 0-1) 3 3 6 1 0 4

J. Davis 3 0 0 0 6 3

C.B. Aycock

Sasser 3 1 0 0 0 5

G. Davis (W, 1-0) 2 1 0 0 0 2

Price 2 0 0 0 0 2

WP -- J. Davis 2, Davis 1. HBP -- Moore (by Price).