05/02/08 — Wright's homer ignites Golden Falcons

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Wright's homer ignites Golden Falcons

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 2, 2008 1:48 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Zach Wright sucked the life out Wilson Hunt on Thursday evening with one swing of the bat.

Wright's third-inning, grand slam ignited Charles B. Aycock's offense in an 11-3 victory in their Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference semifinal-round tournament game.

Third-seeded Hunt led 2-0 before Wright's bases-clearing shot and Warriors right-hander Sam Strickland had allowed just two hits. But when Jordan Carr loaded the bases with a bunt single, Strickland's shutout bid quickly disappeared.

Wright, an East Carolina signee, put Aycock ahead to stay with his round-tripper.

"Zach's home run it got us going," said C.B. Aycock head coach Charles Davis. "If Jordan Carr doesn't get that bunt down, then Zach probably never gets a pitch to hit. I thought we did a great job after that of putting the ball in play and swinging the bats."

Strickland recovered and lasted until the fifth inning.

But reliever Zach Lee couldn't stop the reigning ECC tournament champions. Tyler Ruffin started a three-run outburst with a sacrifice bunt that scored Jonathan Taylor.

Will Edgerton added an RBI single and Bryant Hill scooted home on a passed ball to make it 7-3.

Hunt answered with Kyle Lamm's sixth-inning, solo home run.

However, Taylor enlarged the Golden Falcons' lead with a two-run homer to make it 9-3. Hill and Edgerton each provided an RBI single to conclude the scoring and give Aycock its fifth consecutive ECC tournament victory.

The Golden Falcons got hits from seven of their nine batters with five of their 11 hits coming from the fifth spot or lower in the lineup. Wright finished 2-for-3, while Edgerton batted 3-for-5 with two RBI. Hill and Taylor contributed two hits apiece.

With its most important baseball still to be played, Aycock is forcing opposing pitchers to search long and hard to find an easy out.

"That's the mark of a good team ... not relying on one or two people swinging the bats, but having somebody else step up," Davis said. "That's what you want to do at this time of year. For us to get three wins against a quality Hunt team is tough to do."

Golden Falcons starter Jesse Randolph worked out of a first-inning, bases-loaded jam. He allowed one run on Lamm's RBI groundout and yielded a third-inning home run to Lee.

In his final home start, Randolph gave up three runs (all earned) on nine hits with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings. Eric DuBose threw the seventh in relief.

"What was huge was that first inning," said Davis. "When they're sitting there with the bases loaded and get just one run out of it, that's huge. I thought Jesse gutted it up. Jesse stood up there and battled, and got some good ground-ball outs."

DuBose, a left-handed sophomore, shutout Hunt and Southern Wayne in his last two starts and will be on the mound Monday at Eastern Wayne.

"Eric has thrown the ball well for us, he really has," Davis said. "We're going to go over there and have some fun and play with confidence. There is nothing as far as playoffs on the line. It's just going and out playing and having fun."