By Rob Patrick
RUSSELLVILLE — Patience paid off early for the Bryant Hornets when they took on 7A-Central Conference rival Russellville on Friday, March 13.
In fact, it paid a dividend of four runs without a hit over the first two innings when they waited out eight walks to go with two hit batsmen.
And that would've been enough, as it turned out, since right-hander Ben Wells limited the Cyclones to just three hits while issuing just one walk and hitting a batter over six innings. Caleb Milam, who struck out the side around the only Bryant error in the seventh, finished up the three-hit shutout as the Hornets rolled to a 15-0 win, blowing the game up with eight runs in the top of the seventh.
Bryant improves to 3-0 in conference play, tied with North Little Rock atop the standings. The Hornets are 4-1 overall as they set off for Van Buren on Saturday for a 1:30 league tilt.
Hunter Mayall, Kaleb Jobe, Brady Butler and Jordan Taylor each had two hits for the Hornets before Friday's game was complete. Mayall, Butler, Wells and Taylor each drove in a pair of runs. Both of Wells' RBIs came on bases-loaded walks, two of the four free passes he was issued in the game.
In all, the Hornets benefited from 14 walks, four hit batsmen and four Cyclone errors.[more]
Walks to Garrett Bock, Tyler Sawyer, Brady Butler and Wells produced a 1-0 lead in the first for the Hornets before Russellville starter Brandon Turner finished the inning with a strikeout to strand three.
In the second, however, more control trouble haunted the sophomore right-hander. He hit Taylor and Mayall. A nice play by freshman second baseman Frank Chiolino robbed Garrett Bock of a hit for the second out of the inning but then Sawyer drew another walk to load the bases for Jobe. The two battled to a 3-2 count then the Bryant senior fought off three pitches before taking ball four to force in a run. A walk to Bulter forced in another and Turner gave way to Mike Cowles.
But Wells drew another RBI walk and it was 4-0 before Cowles could get the third out.
Meanwhile, on the mound, Wells retired the first four he faced then then issued his lone walk to Paul Schaffner. But Jobe threw him out trying to steal for the second out. Wells grazed Cowles with a pitch but struck out Ryan Dixon to end the inning.
The Cyclones never had more than one baserunner in any subsequent inning. Wells worked around a two-out single by Madison Beaird in the third. In the fifth, after a two-out single by Matt Lutz, he picked him off first. Chase Wetzel singled to lead off the sixth but was erased on a doubleplay.
The Hornets managed their first hit in the fourth, a solid single to center by Jobe. Courtesy runner Jonathan Wade advanced to second on a passed ball then moved to third on Butler's single to left. The duo then worked a double steal to give the Hornets a 5-0 lead.
With one out, Brennan Bullock was hit by a pitch. Taylor followed with a bouncer up the middle that Chiolino couldn't back-hand cleanly, loading the bases for Justin Blankenship, just back from a strained hip flexor. Blankenship delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.
The third Russellville pitcher, Devin Stracener retired the Hornets in order for the only time in the fifth but ran into trouble of his own in the sixth when, with two down, he hit Bullock on the back of the helmet with a pitch. Bullock swiped second and took third when catcher Keith Dove's throw got through into center field. Taylor drove him home with a bouncer through the right side for a single.
The seventh inning began with Mayall's fly down the line in left that fell just inside the foul line for a double. With one out, Sawyer pulled a grounder inside the bag at first for an RBI double. Jobe singled up the middle and Butler tapped one to the right side that Schaffner knocked down with a dive but had no play on as Sawyer scored.
Freshman Derek Birginske relieved for Russellville and issued the fourth walk to Wells, loading the bases for Bullock, whose tap up the middle was misplayed, making it 10-0. Taylor walked to force in a run then Blankenship's liner to right was dropped as Caleb Garrett, running for Wells, came home. Mayall followed with his second hit of the inning, a two-run single up the middle to make it 14-0. Blankenship wound up at third and, moments later, scored the final run on a balk.
BRYANT 15, RUSSELLVILLE 0
Hornets ab r h bi Cyclones ab r h bi
Mayall, dh 5 2 2 2 Beaird, cf 3 0 1 0
Bock, cf 4 1 0 0 Chiolino, 2b 2 0 0 0
Sawyer, ss 3 2 1 1 Stracener, p 1 0 0 0
Jobe, c 5 0 2 1 Birginske, 3b-p 2 0 0 0
Wade, cr 0 2 0 0 Schumacher,1b1 0 0 0
Butler, 1b 3 2 2 2 Holloway, ss 3 0 0 0
Wells, p 1 0 0 2 Schaffner, 1b-rf2 0 0 0
Garrett, cr 0 1 0 0 Turner,p-2b-3b 2 0 0 0
Milam, p 0 0 0 0 Cowles, p 0 0 0 0
Bullock, lf 3 2 0 1 Reasoner, cr 0 0 0 0
Taylor, 2b 2 2 2 2 Dixon, dh 2 0 0 0
Blankenship, rf 3 1 0 1 Lutz, rf-p 2 0 1 0
Garrett, rf 0 0 0 0 Wetzel, lf 2 0 1 0
Alford, 3b 0 0 0 0 Dove, c 0 0 0 0
Totals 29 15 9 12 Totals 22 0 3 0
Score by inning
BRYANT 130 201 8 — 15
Russellville 000 000 0 — 0
E—Wetzel, Dove, Holloway, Lutz, Taylor. DP—Bryant 1. LOB—Bryant 13, Russellville 3. 2B—Mayall, Sawyer. SB—Bock, Wade, Butler, Bullock. S—Blankenship. SF—Blankenship.
ip r er h bb so
Wells (W, 2-1) 6 0 0 3 1 4
Milam 1 0 0 0 0 3
Turner (L) 1.2 4 4 0 7 1
Cowles 2.1 2 2 3 3 2
Stracener 2.1 5 3 5 1 0
Birginske 0.1 4 0 1 3 0
Lutz 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
Balk—Birginske. HBP—Taylor, Mayall (by Turner), Cowles (by Wells), Bullock 2 (by Cowles, by Stracener). WP—Cowles. PB—Dove 2.