04/17/09 — Gators stage late rally

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Gators stage late rally

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 17, 2009 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Spring Creek finally got some production.

Haunted by strikeouts and stranded base runners in recent weeks, the Gators erased an early deficit and turned back Princeton 6-4 in opening-round play of the 2009 Deacon Jones Invitational on Thursday afternoon. A former champion of the annual two-day event, Spring Creek (8-6 overall) advanced to today's title game against North Johnston at 7 p.m.

The Dawgs (6-10) tangle with archrival Rosewood at 4 p.m.

Spring Creek pounded out eight hits and tallied four unearned runs off six Princeton miscues. Senior infielder Lucas Potter spearheaded the Gators' offense with three hits, including two doubles, in three at-bats.

Duane Gurganus, the winning pitcher, and Ricky Brayboy contributed two hits apiece.

"They helped us out a lot with a couple of plays they botched," said Gators head coach Heath Whitfield. "We helped them out, too. Bruce (Proctor) and I are both generous guys. It was just routine plays."

Princeton seized a 3-0 lead after two innings.

Designated hitter Dylan Myers provided a first-inning, RBI single.

Sean Carpenter and Luke Mitchell connected on back-to-back hits to start the Dawgs' second-inning uprising. Phillip Mitchell reached on an infield bunt when the Gators' defense failed to cover first base.

Gurganus, a freshman right-hander, recorded a strikeout and coaxed an inning-ending ground ball from Adam Peedin. But the Gators' defense misplayed the bouncing grounder and two runs scored.

"They gave us a couple and you want to keep 'mo' in your dugout," said Princeton coach Bruce Proctor. "But we didn't do a good job of that."

Spring Creek refused to quit.

Gurganus delivered a third-inning, RBI single to put the Gators on the board. An infield error led to Spring Creek's fourth-inning run and another error sparked a game-tying, sixth-inning rally.

"We've got to stop beating ourselves," said Proctor. "We're not playing good baseball right now ... mentally or physically."

Spring Creek plated two seventh-inning runs on Eric Evans' fielder's choice grounder and a wild throw on Chris Boseman's fielder's choice. The defensive mistakes led the mound loss for Princeton reliever Austin Hinton.

The Dawgs threatened in the seventh. Peedin drilled a one-out single to shallow left field and moved into scoring position when Dillon Daughtry reached on an error. The Gators ended the game on Dontay Boseman's double play when he caught Myers' fly ball and threw Daughtry out at second base.