03/12/11 — CB Aycock drops N. Lenoir baseball

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CB Aycock drops N. Lenoir baseball

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 12, 2011 11:06 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Right-handed pitchers Derek Limbaugh and John Delaney each encountered first-inning trouble Friday evening.

Limbaugh avoided significant damage.

Delaney didn't.

Charles B. Aycock crushed three first-inning home runs and doubled up North Lenoir, 12-6, in a battle of Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference rivals. The Golden Falcons (4-2 overall) remained unbeaten in two league outings this season, while the Hawks (4-1, 1-1 ECC) suffered their first defeat of the year.

"The key was the first inning," said Aycock head coach Charles Davis.

Limbaugh permitted a two-strike, lead-off single to Chastin Radford, who was one of four Hawks to record a multiple-hit outing at the plate on the day. Grayson Phillips reached on an infield error to put additional pressure on the Golden Falcon defense.

A returning starter, Limbaugh coaxed catcher Rand Jackson into a double-play grounder that forced Radford out at third base. After a walk, Limbaugh fanned JT Williams on four pitches to end the inning.

With the potential disaster gone, Aycock seized control during its first at-bat. Lead-off hitter Adam Pate walked and Cameron Taylor singled to left field.

Jonathan Taylor slapped a one-strike offering from Delaney over the left center-field fence to make it 3-0. It was Taylor's second round-tripper of the year.

The Golden Falcons tacked on five more runs, including a grand slam homer from Collin DuBose and a solo blast from No. 9 hitter Craig Murdock. DuBose belted his second HR of the season, while it was the first for Murdock.

"That first inning was very important for both teams," said Hawks head coach Jim Montague. "They capitalized on it and we didn't take advantage. It's all a learning process."

Aycock collected three hits with runners in scoring position during the first inning, a big contrast from Wednesday's non-conference loss to Hunt. The Golden Falcons struggled to manufacture runs and stranded 11 men aboard for the game.

"Our focus was when we got people on base, we wanted to be extra focused at the plate and drive the ball into the gaps," said Davis. "Collin had a great at-bat. I told him to concentrate hitting the ball up the middle and he hit it backside (for a home run)."

Taylor's bases-clearing, three-RBI double in the fifth inning nearly invoked the 10-run rule. But North Lenoir refused to quit and closed the gap to 12-6 on Brian Hardy's two-run homer in the seventh inning. It was Hardy's fourth round-tripper of the season, and the junior outfielder boosted his team-leading RBI total to 14.

The Hawks out-hit the Golden Falcons, 10-9.

"At one point, the game was very close to finishing in five innings, but we made the game go seven innings, so that shows a lot of character," said Montague.