05/04/12 — EW's Barnett tosses shutout

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EW's Barnett tosses shutout

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 4, 2012 1:48 PM

The only thing better than one ace is two.

In his newfound role as Eastern Wayne's No. 1 starter, Hunter Barnett came through in his biggest start of the season thus far. Barnett tossed a complete-game shutout and Eastern Wayne defeated South Johnston 4-0 in the semifinals of the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament on Thursday night in New Hope.

The top-seeded Warriors (15-6 overall) entertain second-seeded Southern Wayne in Monday's finals.

Eastern Wayne strung together three consecutive hits in the bottom of the first inning and Wes Capps' RBI double scored Ryan Faucette. Jeremy Lancaster's sacrifice fly put the Warriors in front 2-0.

Benito Avila lined a one-out double to left field in the home half of the second inning. Avila scored on Barnett's RBI single to center field. The lead grew to 4-0 as Barnett scored on a Trojans' error.

Faucette finished with three hits and Barnett added two hits and an RBI.

"We swung the bats early and with guys in scoring position with two strikes," Eastern Wayne head coach Jabo Fulghum said. "I thought we came out with a lot of intensity early in the game. We stuck together."

South Johnston used three walks to load the bases with one out in the top of the fifth inning. Reid Barefoot lined into a double play at first base to end the inning. Barnett scattered five hits, walked four and struck out nine.

"I got lucky I guess," Barnett said of working out of trouble in the fifth inning. "I slowed myself down a little bit and started hitting my spots and let the defense do the rest. I've kind of been expecting to pitch all week but when I found out it was my turn on the hill I got my mindset ready."

The Warriors swept the two meetings with the Saints during the regular season. Both games were decided by three runs or fewer.

"We're excited about being in the conference tournament finals," Fulghum said. "The boys want it and we're excited about being there, but we've got to get better. I know Southern Wayne swings the bats and they're playing well."