04/21/10 — Neal scatters five hits, Eagles benefit from nine errors

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Neal scatters five hits, Eagles benefit from nine errors

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 21, 2010 1:46 PM

Part I is complete.

Rosewood concluded first-half play unbeaten on the Carolina 1-A Conference baseball scene with a 10-2 conquest of archrival Princeton on Tuesday evening.

Senior right-hander Matt Neal, who has verbally committed to Pitt Community College, recorded a season-high 14 strikeouts and limited the Dawgs to five hits.

"Matt gave us another good effort, didn't start out quite as sharp as he usually is, but he pitched well enough to win," said Rosewood head coach Jason King. "We got the run support, which always makes it easier for the pitcher. We got a quality win against a quality opponent."

The Dawgs were gracious guests, too.

The Eagles (9-6 overall, 5-0 CC) benefited from nine errors and three walks, and pushed five unearned runs across the plate.

"Errors and walks will just drive you crazy as a coach," said Princeton head coach Bruce Proctor. "It just snowballs. You have a guy doing a great job on the mound, rolling ground balls, which is what you teach him to do ... we're just beating ourselves up.

"There are too many people trying to beat us without us trying to beat ourselves. The (final) score could be very different if we make the plays."

Four first-inning miscues helped Rosewood grab a 3-0 lead.

Will Beasley, who cranked out a game-leading three hits, added an RBI single in the third inning to make it 4-0.

Princeton (5-13, 1-4) climbed within 4-2 on Kristian Cox's first-pitch, two-RBI homer in the fourth inning. Neal allowed just two three base runners from that point, and retired seven of the final eight batters he faced.

Defensive lapses on a bunt and infield fly allowed Rosewood to break the game open in the latter stages. The Eagles manufactured six runs (four earned) off five hits and three errors during that stretch.

Bulldawg right-hander Austin Hinton took the mound loss and left-hander reliever Matt Evans threw the sixth.

"We were right there in it, but walks and errors have been our Achilles' heel," said Proctor.

Will Winslow and Jonathan Franks (2 RBI) supplied two hits apiece for the Eagles. Teammate Taylor Price batted 1-for-2 and drew two walks.

Rosewood starts second-half action at home Friday against Ayden-Grifton. First pitch is 7 p.m. at the Eagles' Nest.

"This was one of our goals for the season," said King of the 5-0 conference worksheet. "We've got to keep trying to take care of business and we talk about that after every game. We have to keep our foot on the gas and we can't let up.

"Every team is going to come out shooting for us."