04/05/11 — Spring Creek downs Rosewood baseball

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Spring Creek downs Rosewood baseball

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 5, 2011 1:47 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Spring Creek remained perfect on the Carolina 1-A Conference baseball scene Monday evening.

But it wasn't easy.

The Gators raced to a four-run advantage before fending off two-time defending league champion Rosewood, 5-3, on a blustery, dusty night at "The Swamp." Spring Creek (7-6 overall) improved to 3-0 against league opposition and is the guest of North Duplin on Thursday.

"(Just) like our first two conference games, we did things that weren't pretty, but we were able to scratch and claw, and get some runs when we needed to," said Gators' head coach Heath Whitfield.

Spring Creek collected five unearned runs against Rosewood right-hander Reed Howell. The freshman permitted just four hits in a complete-game effort, struck out three, walked three and plunked three batters.

The Gators manufactured two first-inning runs off a walk, a hit batsman, a stolen base and an outfield error. Ricky Brayboy's two-out, RBI single and a throwing error on a delayed steal attempt led to a pair of fourth-inning runs.

"They got us in a rundown, we just didn't plan on the guy (courtesy runner Anthony Russo) leaving (early) from third, but he kept getting more down the line and that's not what we really wanted him to do," said Whitfield. "It worked out for us, that's all I'm going to say."

Right-hander Duane Gurganus retired the first six Eagles he faced and nine of 10 overall through the first three innings. He coaxed Rosewood into an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning, and carried a no-hitter into the sixth.

Howell, appropriately, foiled Gurganus' no-hit bid with a lead-off double into right field. The extra-base knock fueled a three-run uprising as Gurganus faced nine batters in the inning.

"Duane pitched his butt off, was lights out, for five innings," said Whitfield. "I think he got a little tired in the sixth, he hadn't been to that point yet this season. He had some walks and got behind (in the count) a little bit, and that hurt."

Jonathan Franks (1-for-4) and Ian Speight (1-for-3) each provided an RBI hit during the surge. Will Winslow's fielder's choice RBI pulled the Eagles to within 4-3, but Gurganus recorded an inning-ending strikeout with the bases loaded to avoid any further damage.

Brayboy threw a perfect seventh for the save.

"Too many mistakes and we waited way too late to start at the plate," said Rosewood head coach Jason King. "You can't do those things against a well-coached team. (Gurganus) mixed up his fastball well and we just didn't did a good job of adjusting at the plate tonight."