By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 10, 2009 1:47 PM
All John Wooten needed was a little run support and he felt like a starting pitcher all over again.
Wooten, who embraced the closer role last season, tossed a three-hit shutout for fivae innings during a 5-0, non-conference victory over South Central on Monday afternoon.
The reigning News-Argus pitcher of the year, Wooten (1-0) returned to the starting rotation this season. The right-hander posted five strikeouts and didn't issue a walk, and effectively mixed an overpowering fastball with a knee-buckling curveball to keep the Falcons' batters guessing in the box.
"John was a starter as a freshman and a sophomore," said Warriors head coach Jabo Fulghum. "Last year it just worked out that he was a reliever. He'll tell you that he didn't have his best stuff today at the start. Then he found himself about the third inning and he started handling the strike zone.
"He located well."
Wooten's RBI double in the bottom of the first drove home Walker Gourley to start Eastern Wayne's scoring. Cambric Moye plated Wooten with an RBI single to push the lead to 2-0.
Wooten was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the home half of the third to score Zack Beachem, who drew a leadoff walk. Robert Faucette and Jose Ponce each drew bases-loaded walks to bring home Gourley and Colton Fulghum, respectively, for the Warriors' final two runs.
Fulghum and Gourley each finished with two hits.
"We had some key hits," said coach Fulghum. "The guys hit the ball a little bit today and drove in some runs. We're improving."
Eastern Wayne (2-0 overall) recorded just two hits following the second inning and left eight runners on base in the seven-inning affair.
"After the third inning we had a little let down," said coach Fulghum. "We didn't have that intensity. When you play a good team like South Central you have to go all game long. I think we were just trying to do too much."
Gourley worked two scoreless innings of relief.
The teams meet again Thursday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium on the East Carolina University campus. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
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