05/18/11 — Mozingo holds reigning 3-A east champs hitless

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Mozingo holds reigning 3-A east champs hitless

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 18, 2011 1:47 PM

WILSON -- Untouchable.

And darn near perfect.

Eastern Wayne hurler Zack Mozingo held No. 4-ranked Wilson Hunt hitless and logged 15 strikeouts in a 6-0, second-round triumph in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A baseball playoffs Tuesday evening.

A crafty right-hander, Mozingo and the Warrior coaching staff used the "reverse pitch" mentality against Hunt, and avenged a 2010 home playoff loss against the reigning eastern champion.

"We did a lot of first-pitch curveballs and once we got ahead with the curveball, we came back with the fastball," said Mozingo. "Most of them were behind (in the count) after seeing the curveball, which is however many miles-per-hour different.

"Most of the time we stayed off the plate because the umpire was giving about an inch ... an inch and a half. So, you stayed out and he'd either give it to you, or they'd swing at it and not hit it good."

Or hit it at all.

Mozingo struck out each Hunt batter at least once, and retired the side on strikeouts in the second and sixth innings. He coerced the perennial Big East powerhouse into four ground-ball outs and two flyouts -- both to left fielder Dante Arthur.

"Mozingo, that's the sharpest I've seen him," said EW head coach Jabo Fulghum. "Tonight, Mo had an 'out' pitch. He got his off-speed pitch over early in the count, then we used his off-speed pitch when he was ahead in the count."

Cory Nygard ruined Mozingo's perfect-game bid with a lead-off walk in the seventh. Spencer Boykin reached on a fielder's choice groundout. Mozingo coaxed Parker Lamm into a lazy fly ball to left field for the second out, and caught Jacob Page staring a game-ending third strike.

It was Mozingo's second no-hitter of the season.

"I had all my good stuff tonight," said Mozingo, who threw 94 pitches. "Everything was working and I guess they just couldn't hit."

Hitless through three innings, Eastern Wayne (18-7 overall) gave Mozingo the run support he needed in the fourth. Greg Simms poked a two-strike single into shallow center field, stole second and scored the eventual game-winning run on Nolan James' two-strike base hit.

Ryan Faucette added an RBI single to make it 2-0.

"One of the keys for us, when James got that base hit, he kind of rattled (Parker) Lamm a little bit," said Fulghum. "Lamm pitched well, we were just fortunate enough to string a few hits together. Faucette hits a ball up the middle with two strikes and they can't make a play."

Hunt aided its demise in the fifth.

Mozingo reached base with a one-out single and was replaced by freshman courtesy runner Ryan Kelly. With James in the batter's box, Kelly got hung up between first and second on a pick-off attempt, but Hunt botched the play.

James popped up in front of the plate and the ball dropped between three Hunt defenders, who all lost the ball in the lights. Teammates Page and Avery Harper encountered the same problem on Wes Capps' routine fly ball to right field that turned into a two-RBI triple.

"I looked at the center fielder and right fielder, and I knew neither one of them saw it," said Fulghum. "So I said 'hey, we're going to gamble because it's twilight' and I sent them running."

Eastern Wayne (18-7 overall) plated two seventh-inning runs on Jake May's RBI single and Simm's RBI double.

Mozingo did the rest.