05/10/13 — South Central ousts Eastern Wayne from 3A baseball playoffs

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South Central ousts Eastern Wayne from 3A baseball playoffs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 10, 2013 1:47 PM

WINTERVILLE -- South Central got the timely hit.

Tucker Jacobs did the rest.

The Falcons plated a pivotal fourth-inning run and Jacobs registered a complete-game, 3-0 shutout over Eastern Wayne during opening-round action in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A baseball playoffs Thursday evening.

Eastern Wayne put pressure on the South Central defense early.

Ryan Faucette and Zack Smith connected on consecutive singles to right field, but were left stranded in scoring position. That one inning magnified the microcosm of the Warriors' season-long struggles of pushing runs across in timely fashion.

The Warriors (11-13 overall) put a third runner in scoring position during the second-inning, but Jacobs induced an inning-ending fielder's choice.

Jacobs scattered four hits and retired 12 of 13 batters he faced from the third to sixth innings. He tossed a perfect third, fifth and sixth inning.

"I hit my comfort zone and found my rhythm, which was the big thing," said the right-handed Jacobs. "I had trouble with the breaking ball at first, but I went back in the bullpen, got some things right and threw strong.

"I went back to basics."

Eastern Wayne put eight runners aboard and batted 0-for-4 with men in scoring position for the game. The Warriors left six runners on base and endured their third shutout loss of the season.

"It's been the story pretty much this year, not getting hits with anybody in scoring position," Warriors head coach Jabo Fulghum said. "We haven't been able to cash in, but leave a lot of people on (instead). Our pitching has been good for the most part of the year and our defense, the last half of the season, that's why we were able to make the playoffs in my opinion.

"We were able to scratch some runs."

South Central (15-7) staged its game-winning rally in the fourth inning. Jacobs chopped a single over MJ Morgan's head down the third-base line and Cameron Green plated Jacobs' courtesy runner -- Travious Ford -- two batters later with an RBI single in nearly the same spot.

The Falcons added two sixth-inning insurance runs on a hit, two errors, a dropped third strike and intentional walk. The dropped third strike extended the inning for South Central, which improved to 8-4 at home this season.

"I'm proud of my kids for coming over here and battling hard, giving it everything they can, but they came up shortly," Fulghum said. "The timely hit just won't there."