Princeton’s Trace Hickman

Princeton’s Trace Hickman (4) takes a cut during the Bulldogs’ game against Spring Creek. Hickman went 2-2 at the plate with two RBIs and a double.

Princeton pounced on Spring Creek early, and the Bulldogs dispatched the Gators 13-1 on Thursday evening in Seven Springs.

With the win, Princeton’s Bulldogs improved to 1-1 on the season, while the Gators, who dropped 0-2, were unable to overcome a spotty first inning in nonconference play both teams.

Princeton started with a frenzy. With two runners on base, Will Gurganious hit a double off Gators starter Jordan Ammons to make the score 1-0.

After a single and wild throw by the Gators, the Bulldogs led 2-0.

Then later in the inning, senior Kameron Ballance hit a triple, which drove in two more runs and gave the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead.

Throughout the game, Princeton’s starting pitcher Tyler Thompson leaned on his fundamentals and exhibited total command during the entire game, fanning 10 Spring Creek batters en route to a complete-game victory.

Princeton head coach Justin Willoughby was pleased with his starting pitcher’s effort.

“Tyler did a good job all night,” Willoughby said. “He commanded his fastball really well and threw breaking balls when he needed to. He’s young, he’s developing, and he’s got a bright future ahead of him. It’s just a matter of taking care of the small things, throwing strikes, and giving himself a chance.”

And once solid on the mound, the Bulldogs cut loose everywhere else.

Princeton frustrated Ammons, who gave up six runs in one inning of work. His relief, unfortunately, fared no better throughout the rest of the game.

The Gators scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the second inning when Dylan Paulk’s bunt enabled David Williams to score.

The Bulldogs were led by Trace Hickman, Jacob Edens and Ballance — the trio who went a combined 5-for-9 at the plate with six RBIs. Jacob McCain and Jacob Barnes also delivered for Princeton.

As a team, the Bulldogs finished with eight hits, eight RBIs and 13 runs.

In total, it was an effort the Bulldogs will need to duplicate throughout the spring. But don’t attempt to sell Willoughby on the fact that it will be easy.

“We have to keep going,” Willoughby said. “We’re young, but I love our group of kids. They work hard, they’re coachable. It’s just a matter of coming back tomorrow and finding what we need to work on so we can get better every time we get a chance to play.”