04/16/08 — Bulldogs push across lone run in sixth inning

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Bulldogs push across lone run in sixth inning

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 16, 2008 2:55 PM

It only takes one run.

The Princeton offense sputtered for five innings, but a lone sixth-inning run proved to be the difference as the Bulldogs topped Class 1-A Carolina Conference archrival Rosewood 1-0 on Tuesday evening.

Princeton starter April Keene threw six no-hit innings and exited with a 1-0 lead. Reliever Traci Bridgers preserved the no-hitter with a scoreless seventh.

"Both of our pitchers did a very good job all the way around tonight," said Bulldogs head coach Terry Braswell. "If it only takes one run to win, we're fortunate, and we'll take it."

Rosewood hurler Haile Meadows posted a season-high 13 strikeouts and permitted the unearned run.

Locked in a scoreless tie in the top half of the sixth inning, Keene helped her own cause by belting a single into the outfield. The ball was mis-handled and Keene advanced to third on the error. One batter later, Keene sprinted home on a passed ball.

The Bulldogs (7-4 overall, 4-0 Carolina) missed several opportunities to grab the lead in the early innings. They stranded five runners in their first three at-bats, a fact that had Braswell perplexed.

"We really need to get the bats going. We stranded runners that we need to get in," Braswell said. "I hate to have the only run score on a passed ball, but we have to take them any way we can get them right now."

With Bridgers warming up in the Bulldog bullpen, Keene stepped to the plate with a chance to drive in a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning. A Meadows offering hit Keene on the arm and made Braswell's decision to substitute pitchers an easy one.

"I was planning on going with Traci anyway, depending on how things worked out during our at-bat," Braswell said. "Then when April got hit by the pitch, it sealed the deal."

Again the Bulldogs missed a chance to increase their advantage as Meadows recorded her 13th strikeout with the bases loaded.

"Haile has been really pitching well as of late," Rosewood coach Tracey Meadows said. "It is so important to keep hitters off balance, and she has been doing a nice job with that."

"We have to continue to cut down on our errors and our mistakes. I am pleased with the progress we've made, but we have to work on swinging the bat and not having hitters watching third strikes."

Rosewood dipped to 3-8 overall and 2-2 in league play with the loss.