By Rob Patrick
Photos by Kevin Nagle
The Bryant Hornets got hit six times and got hits six times as they opened the 2012 season with[more] a 10-0 win over the Pine Bluff Zebras Monday night. Seniors Dylan Cross and Jordan Taylor combined on the five-inning shutout, along just one baserunner on a scratch hit with two out in the second inning.
Josh Pultro and Chase Tucker each drove in two runs and were among those with hits. Pultro came through with two sacrifice flies and highlighted the defense with a diving stab of a line drive between first and second.
Cross worked the first four innings and struck out six without surrendering a walk. The lone hit came right after Pultro’s stellar play at first. It came on a grounder up the middle by Kendrick Bullard that second baseman Ozzie Hurt ranged over and nearly back-handed. A bad hop helped get it through.
Cross got out of the inning on a comebacker off the bat of Keifer Beckford, which started a string in which he retired seven in a row. Taylor worked a 1-2-3 seventh, fanning two and getting the game-ending out on a fly to Hayden Daniel in center.
The Hornets scored in each of their four at-bats. Fittingly, Tyler Nelson, the first batter, was hit by a pitch. Before the game was over, Taylor, Hayden Lessenberry, Cross, Tucker and Daniel were all plunked, two each by the three Pine Bluff hurlers.
Nelson and Trevor Ezell worked a nice hit-and-run with Ezell poking a single right through the vacated shortstop hole. They then worked a double steal and, as Taylor walked, a wild pitch by Zebras lefty Ryan Green allowed Nelson to score the first run.
With Ezell at third, Taylor swiped second then Pultro launched a fly to right that plated the second run. With two down, Cross looped a single to shallow left that allowed Taylor to score.
Braden Jones, running for the Bryant pitcher, took second on a wild pitch then raced home when Tucker ripped a double to deep center that made it 4-0.
Daniel opened the second with a walk and the first of his three stolen bases. The first of two balks by Green put Daniel at third and he scored from there when Nelson shot a single up the middle.
Nelson took off for second and Green threw to first. In his haste to relay to second, Zebras’ first baseman J’Marlos Johnson dropped the ball and Nelson eased into second without a play. With one out, Taylor was hit by a pitch then another balk put runners at second and third for Pultro who delivered another sacrifice fly to center, making it 6-0.
In the third, a one-out walk to Tucker then a wild pitch brought up Hurt who bounced to Larry Williams at third. He retired Tucker then tried to get a second out with a relay to first. But his throw was in the dirt and got past Johnson. Hurt wound up at second and, moments later, Daniel pulled a single to left to drive him home.
Daniel stole second and third as Nelson drew a walk then scored on a passed ball after the Zebras switched to lefty Demetrius Anderson on the bump.
Anderson ran into trouble in the fourth. Pultro led off the win a single up the middle and when the relay from the outfield got away, he took second. A wild pitch allowed Pultro to take third before Lessenberry was hit by a pitch. Two tosses later, Cross took one of the hip to load the bases for Tucker.
Williams relieved for the Zebras and proceeded to clip Tucker with a pitch forcing in Pultro.
Williams made a bid to get out of the inning at that point inducing a 1-2-3 doubleplay that erased Austin Caldwell, running for Lessenberry, at the plate. But he unleased a wild pitch that allowed Jones, running for Cross again, to bring home the final run.
For good measure, Daniel was hit by a pitch before Williams retired the side.
The Hornets are set to travel to Watson Chapel on Friday before hosting Lake Hamilton in a Saturday game.
BRYANT 10, PINE BLUFF 0
Zebras ab r h bi Hornets ab r h bi
Dabner, cf 2 0 0 0 Nelson, ss 2 2 1 1
Graham, ss 2 0 0 0 Ezell, dh 2 1 1 0
R.Green, p-1b 2 0 0 0 Richards, 3b 0 0 0 0
Williams, 3b-p 2 0 0 0 Taylor, 3b-p 1 1 0 0
K.Dewalt, lf 2 0 0 0 Pultro, 1b-lf 1 1 1 2
Bullard, c-3b 2 0 1 0 Lessenberry, c 2 0 0 0
Beckford, 2b 2 0 0 0 Caldwell, cr 0 0 0 0
Johnson, 1b-c 1 0 0 0 Cross, p-1b 2 0 1 1
Anderson, p 0 0 0 0 Jones, cr 0 2 0 0
P.Dewalt, rf 1 0 0 0 Tucker, rf 1 0 1 2
Hurt, 2b 3 1 0 0
Daniel, cf 1 2 1 1
T.Green, lf 0 0 0 0
Total 16 0 1 0 Total 15 10 6 7
E—Johnson, Williams, Beckford. DP—Pine Bluff 1. LOB—Pine Bluff 1, Bryant 6. 2B—Tucker. SF—Pultro 2. SB—Nelson 2, Ezell 2, Taylor, Daniel 3.
Pine Bluff 000 00 — 0
BRYANT 422 2x — 10
Pitching ip r er h bb so
R.Green (L) 2.2 8 5 5 4 1
Anderson 0.1 2 1 1 1 0
Williams 1 0 0 0 0 0
Cross (W, 1-0) 4 0 0 1 0 6
Taylor 1 0 0 0 0 2
Balk—R.Green 2. HBP—Nelson, Taylor (by R.Green), Lessenberry, Cross (by Anderson), Tucker, Daniel (by Williams). WP—R.Green 3, Anderson, Williams. PB—Bullard.