03/14/12 — CBA diamond nine remain perfect

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CBA diamond nine remain perfect

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 14, 2012 1:48 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock is off to a strong start and its leaders have been right in the thick of the success.

Senior left-hander Bryant Stafford tossed six shutout innings in a 5-0 win over Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference foe South Johnston on Tuesday afternoon. Stafford also contributed hit two hits and three RBI.

Fellow senior Blake Sutton and junior Adam Pate each supplied a pair of hits.

"We finally put together a complete game," Golden Falcons' head coach Charles Davis said. "Adam got on base and he makes things happen. Blake had two hits in the sixth hole. It trickled down all the way through our lineup and that is what we have to have."

Stafford's RBI single to left field in the bottom of the first inning scored Pate to give Aycock a 1-0 lead. Justin Barbour added an RBI groundout.

The Golden Falcons threatened again in the home half of the second inning. Rider Gardner led off with a single to left field and advanced to second base on Bobby Hampton's sacrifice bunt. Pate reached on a bunt single and Cameron Taylor got on base on a fielder's choice. Stafford's two-run single increased the lead to 4-0.

Bobby Hampton drove home Sutton on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the third as the lead grew to 5-0. Taylor, Collin DuBose and Gardner each had one hit. Six different Aycock hitters recorded a hit in the game.

Stafford changed speeds well, threw his curveball for strikes and either got ahead of hitters early in counts or showed resolve in battling back after falling behind. He surrendered four hits, tallied eight strikeouts and did not issue a walk.

Ryan Grant pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

"Bryant, that's the best he's looked all year," Davis said. "He threw against Triton last Tuesday night and didn't give up a hit, but he had five walks through four innings. His goal was to go out today and make him beat you swinging the bat.

"He battled back today when he had to. He got his curveball over which is key for him and he threw the ball well."

Lane Johnson suffered the loss on the mound for the Trojans.

The Golden Falcons (5-0 overall, 2-0 ECC) continue ECC play today at North Lenoir. The Hawks defeated Aycock twice in three meetings last season.

"Every game in conference play is big," Davis said. "I told our guys to enjoy this win for about the next 45 minutes and then we will turn our attention to North Lenoir. Fortunately, we've had a couple of home games here in conference play, but we've got to be able to go on the road to North Lenoir and that is going to be a tough ballgame."