03/09/10 — SC-NL

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By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 9, 2010 1:46 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Duane Gurganus is tough to beat on his own.

The Spring Creek sophomore right-hander becomes even more difficult to solve when given some run support.

The Gators spotted Gurganus five runs in the bottom of the first inning and earned an 11-4, non-conference win over North Lenoir on Monday afternoon.

Gurganus worked out of trouble in the top of the first after the Hawks put runners on first and second base with two outs. Eric Evans' grand slam, the program's first home run in two years, highlighted Spring Creek's five-run first.

"I knew coming into this season that was probably going to be our biggest challenge was scoring runs," said Gators head coach Heath Whitfield. "I was tickled to death to see that. With Duane on the mound we feel like five runs is going to be a pretty good cushion.

"We're a different team when he's on the mound."

Spring Creek (1-1 overall) tacked on three runs in the home half of the second thanks to a North Lenoir error, a wild pitch and a fielder's choice.

Corey Howell, Hunter Barnett and Dontay Boseman each added RBI singles in the bottom of the third stretching the lead to 11-0.

Gurganus (1-0) picked up his first win of the season and improved to 9-2 in his varsity career. He allowed one earned run on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk in four innings. Gurganus mixed speeds well, worked both sides of the plate and kept hitters off-balance.

"That was his first start," said Whitfield. "Most of the time he's behind the plate. Duane's going to have to be our No. 1 starter. I think this is going to help our confidence a lot. That's not a bad team over there at North Lenoir."

The Hawks (0-3) battled back with a run in the fourth inning on West Brantley's RBI ground-out. Grayson Phillips' RBI single in the top of the fifth cut the margin to 11-2. J.T. Williams contributed a sacrifice fly and Phillips scored on an error to cap North Lenoir's scoring.

Barnett (RBI) collected three hits and Howell (RBI), while Boseman (RBI) both had two. Spencer Bass was 3 for 3 for North Lenoir.

The Hawks entertain Greene Central on Wednesday, while the Gators visit South Lenoir on Thursday.