04/02/13 — Golden Falcons endure another hard-luck loss

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Golden Falcons endure another hard-luck loss

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 2, 2013 1:47 PM

WINTERVILLE -- Hard-luck losses are starting to pile up for the Charles B. Aycock baseball team.

And the frustration is starting to show on the players' and coaching staff's faces.

Holly Springs pushed across the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning and slipped past the Golden Falcons, 4-3, during the 2013 Pitt County Classic on Monday evening.

Aycock fell to 1-4 in games decided by one run this season.

"We're not snakebit," CBA head coach Charles Davis said. "(It's) the failure to execute. We had chances today to execute in key situations and we didn't. With the type of team we've got, we have to be able to do the little things.

"You've got to have a little bit of instinct to play this game."

The Golden Falcons stranded nine runners in the 1-hour, 39-minute affair and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Aycock hit a paltry 1-for-9 (.111) with men in scoring position.

Senior third baseman Adam Pate and designated hitter Greg Burke combined for four of the Golden Falcons' six hits against Holly Springs starter Brian Fortier and left-handed reliever Sam Gold. Fortier and Gold combined for nine strikeouts, including a critical bunt strikeout that all but silenced Aycock in the fourth inning after it forged a 2-2 tie.

"The finer points of bunts ... getting them correctly down, that's hurt us all year," Davis said. "If we could have done that today, it could have been a different story."

Holly Springs (11-2 overall) plated two first-inning runs against Aycock left-hander Greg Johnson, who eventually scattered nine hits in a complete-game effort. Johnson threw 63 strikes and fanned five Hawks in his 91-pitch outing.

The Golden Falcons turned a season-high three double plays on defense.

But it wasn't enough to prevent Holly Springs from claiming its fifth straight win of the season.

Tied at 2-2, Garrett Joyner drew a one-out walk in Aycock's half of the fifth inning. Bobby Hampton reached on an infield error. A throwing error on the Hawks' right fielder allowed Joyner to take third.

With catcher Noah West in the batter's box, Joyner scored on a passed ball to give the Golden Falcons their lone lead, 3-2.

The Hawks came up empty in the sixth and knotted the game at 3-all in the seventh. Conlin Hughes laced a lead-off double down the third-base line that Aycock's infield thought was a foul ball.

Two batters later, Hughes scored on an infield error.

Aycock couldn't capitalize on two walks and a hit batter in its half of the seventh. Holly Springs gunned down the lead runner on a fielder's choice bunt and fielder's choice groundout, and Gold avoided any damage with an inning-ending flyout to right field.

RJ Arthur's one-out single to left-center field accounted for Holly Spring's game-winning run in the eighth.

"That was the situation I wanted right there, lefty on lefty and the guy gets a base hit (so) you tip your hat to him," Davis said. "I can't fault the effort, can't fault the intensity, but we've still got to do the little things to win."