03/04/07 — No. 3 Tigers beat No. 2 Golden Falcons

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No. 3 Tigers beat No. 2 Golden Falcons

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 4, 2007 2:05 AM

WILSON -- A strong start ended with a disappointing result for the state-ranked Charles B. Aycock baseball team Saturday morning.

North Carolina signee Garrett Davis drilled a two-out, two-run home run -- his first of the season -- in the opening inning. But Jamestown Ragsdale, the 2006 Class 3-A state runner-up, didn't flinch from Davis' blast over the right center field wall.

The Tigers, ranked No. 3 in the preseason ImpactBaseball.com poll, finally answered in the third inning and eventually claimed a 5-4 victory at historic Fleming Stadium. Ragsdale improved to 3-0 overall, while the No. 2-ranked Golden Falcons dropped to 1-1.

The two teams participated in the 2nd annual Impact Baseball Classic, a six-team invitational that features some of the state's top talented players.

"That's why we were here and it was great for us to play them," said C.B. Aycock head coach Charles Davis. "They exposed some of our weaknesses and that gives us something to work on now."

Ragsdale exploited an Aycock offense that is struggling at the plate after one week of regular-season play. Four Tiger pitchers limited the Golden Falcons to three hits in 21 official at-bats.

Freshman left-hander Billy Stone, freshman reliever Bennett Hixon and junior right-hander Ryan Andrejco each yielded one hit. Catlin Carter earned the save with 12/3 innings of no-hit, four-strikeout relief.

In 13 innings of play, the Golden Falcons are batting a collective .133 (6-of-45) as a team with 15 strikeouts.

"Always a concern is hitting, and I'm a firm believer right now that pitching is ahead of hitting," said Davis. "As long as we keep working and stay with what we're doing, we're going to hit. Of course, we haven't faced real bad pitching during this time, either."

C.B. Aycock left five men on base and batted 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Ragsdale. Garrett Davis provided the lone hit with Bradley Taylor on third base. Taylor, the lead-off batter, advanced with back-to-back steals against Stone.

"It doesn't look like it, but I saw some improvement today at the plate compared to our first game Tuesday," said Davis. "The more games we play, the better I think we'll get, also."

Ragsdale needed two innings to shake off a three-hour bus trip and the 10 a.m. start. Aycock's Davis, a senior right-hander, posted four strikeouts and induced two ground balls during that stretch.

The Tigers left two runners in scoring position in the first inning.

"I thought our approach at the plate the first two innings was good and we were really close," said Ragsdale coach Donnie Maness. "We don't hit for a lot of power, but we've got good hitters who are selective and move the ball around the field."

The Golden Falcon defense victimized Davis in the third inning. After a lead-off walk to Jason Wallace, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, Tyler Rankin reached on an infield error.

Carter plated Wallace with a sacrifice fly to right field and Rankin moved into scoring position when the Golden Falcons failed to properly back up the outfield throw. Ragsdale parlayed four stolen bases, two hits and three Aycock errors into four runs during the inning.

"When you're up 2-0, walk the lead-off man and the next guy gets on with an error, there aren't too many good things that are going to happen that inning," said coach Davis. "Ragsdale took advantage of it."

Aycock missed several run-scoring opportunities in the fourth.

Hixon threw eight consecutive balls and issued walks to Garrett Davis and Jay Rose. Connor Narron moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and Hixon hit catcher Zach Wright on the left elbow to juice the bases.

Brandon Price lined out in left field, but Aycock committed a base-running mistake and had to re-tag on the fly ball. Evan Medford drew a bases-loaded walk, but Andrejco -- who relieved Hixon -- coerced an inning-ending fielder's choice groundout.

The Golden Falcons trailed 4-3.

"That's the way the game goes sometime," said coach Davis. "We had our chances. They took advantage of our mistakes and we didn't quite take full advantage of their mistakes."

Rankin provided a solo home run in the fourth inning against Aycock left-hander Grant Sasser. The Golden Falcons pulled within 5-4 on Jordan Carr's sixth-inning RBI sacrifice fly, but Carter closed the door for Ragsdale. The senior right-hander retired all five batters he faced.

C.B. Aycock 200 101 0 -- 4 3 3

Ragsdale 004 100 x -- 5 7 1

Leading hitters -- C.B. Aycock -- Garrett Davis 1-2, HR, RBI; Connor Narron 1-2; Evan Medford 1-2, RBI; Jordan Carr RBI; Thomas Pilkington RBI. Ragsdale -- Tyler Rankin 1-3, HR, RBI; Catlin Carter 1-3, RBI; Brent O'Berry 1-2, RBI; Jason Wallace 2-3; Nathan Cash 1-3, RBI.

DP -- C.B. Aycock 1. LOB -- C.B. Aycock 4, Ragsdale 7. SB -- O'Berry, Wallace (2), Anderson, Matthews, B. Taylor (2). SH -- B. Taylor, Narron. SF -- Carter, Carr.


C.B. Aycock

Davis (L, 1-1) 3 3 4 1 3 4

Sasser 2 3 1 1 0 3

Price 1 1 0 0 1 1


Stone (W, 1-0) 3 2 2 2 1 1

Hixon 2/3 0 1 1 3 0

Andrejco 12/3 1 1 0 0 1

Carter (S, 1) 12/3 0 0 0 0 4

HBP -- Wright (by Hixon).

T -- 1:47.