File photo by Kevin Nagle
FORT SMITH — Logan Chambers and Coby Greiner each drove in two runs and senior right-hander Seth Tucker needed just 82 pitches to go the distance, allowing a run on four hits as the Bryant Hornets improved to 4-0 in the 7A-Central Conference with a 6-1 win over the Fort Smith Southside Mavericks at Forsgren Park on Friday.
The Hornets are now tied with Cabot for first place in the Central. The Panthers edged Little Rock Central 6-5 to stay unbeaten in league play. North Little Rock, which came into the night unbeaten against conference foes, absorbed a 1-0 loss to Little Rock Catholic to drop off the pace of Bryant and Cabot.
The Hornets, now 10-4 overall, will host the Panthers on Tuesday in a first-place showdown. Bryant plays a non-conference game at Benton on Monday.
Tucker walked one, hit one and fanned five while scattering four hits in the game. Southside’s lone run came in the bottom of the fifth after the Hornets had built a 6-0 lead. He no-hit the Mavs through three innings before surrendering a hit to Brock Thibodeaux to lead off the fourth.
Bryant was limited to five hits but two of them were doubles from Chambers and Greiner. Southside starter Kinner Brasher walked four and the Hornets benefited from a pair of Maverick errors.
The Hornets grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Brandon Hoover ignited the uprising with a lead-off single to center. With one out, Tucker drew a walk. Both runners advanced when Scott Schmidt rolled out to the first baseman, setting the table for Jake Wright who beat out an infield hit to get the first run home.
With Schmidt at the plate, Wright left early from first and drew a throw to first. On the relay to second, Tucker took off from third and beat the throw home to make it 2-0. A throw back to second nabbed Wright to end the inning.
Tucker worked a 1-2-3 home third then Brasher retired the side around a two-out walk to Myers Buck in the top of the fourth.
After Thibodeaux’s single to left to open the fourth, Mac Moody flew to Matthew Sandidge in center, Jake Melton tapped out the Chambers at first and, with a runner at second, Tucker got Weston Phillips to pop to left.
A two-out uprising in the top of the fifth, took some of the tension out of the game. Tucker’s free pass got the inning going. Schmidt reached on an error by Thibodeaux at short then Wright drew a walk to load the bases.
With Logan Grant on to run for Wright, Chambers blooped a fly to left that fell in for a two-run double. On an 0-1 delivery, Greiner traded places with Chambers, belting a liner to left for a two-bagger that made it 6-0.
The Southside run came in the fifth after Dylan Bryant led off with a double. Tucker struck out the next two batters but a single to left by Haukend Smith got the run in. Brasher followed with a single to right but Tucker brought the rally to an end by getting Thibodeaux to pop to Greiner at short.
Stratton Whittington relieved Brasher in the top of the sixth and surrendered a two-out hit to Sandidge who stole second and took third on a wild pitch only to be stranded.
Tucker walked Moody to start the bottom of the sixth but the Hornets turned a doubleplay when Melton hit a sharp grounder to Greiner to squelch the Mavs’ hopes.
Tucker ended it with another 1-2-3 frame in the seventh, fanning two including pinch-hitter Braeden Myers to end it.