Hornets wind up with split on opening day in Florida after rally in second game falls short (photos added)

Bryant's Jason Hastings holds a St. Mark's base-runner at first. (Photo courtesy of J'Ann Boyd Lessenberry)Photos courtesy of J'Ann Boyd Lessenberry

TAMPA, Fla. — The Bryant Hornets split their first two games at the Tampa Bay[more] High School Spring Training event at Walter Fuller baseball complex on Monday.

Harrison Dale pitched six innings of shutout ball. (Photo by J'Ann Boyd Lessenberry)

In their opener, right-hander Harrison Dale tossed six innings of shutout ball in an 8-1 win over St. Mark’s High School of Southborough, Mass.

In the second game, the Faith Baptist Christian Eagles of Brandon, Fla., snapped a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth and held off a Bryant rally in the top of the seventh to escape with a 4-3 win. The Hornets had the bases loaded when the last out was recorded.

Bryant is scheduled to play today at 10 a.m., and again at 1 p.m., Eastern Daylight
Time.

In six innings, Dale scattered nine hits, walked two and struck out four. St. Mark’s added a run in the top of the seventh with two more hits against Blaine Knight who closed out the game. All 11 of the Yellowjackets’ hits were singles.

The Hornets, meanwhile, took advantage of five walks and three errors by the Massachusetts team with six hits including two by Trevor Ezell. They scored three in the second and five in the fourth.

Dale started the second-inning uprising with a lead-off single up the middle. Courtesy runner Austin Caledwell took second on a passed ball but was picked off a pitch later. Jason Hastings walked and so did Hayden Daniel. With two down, Korey Thompson’s sharp grounder towards short was botched and both Hastings and Daniel scored as Thompson cruised into second. Tyler Green chased him home with a shot into left for a double.

Dale, who had worked around a pair of two-out singles in the top of the first and two more with one out in the top of the second, eased through the third despite a two-out walk. In the fourth, a lead-off single was erased when Dale started a doubleplay on a comebacker.

Nate Rutherford (Photo courtesy of J'Ann Boyd Lessenberry)

In the bottom of the inning, Hastings drew a walk and Daniel got on via an error. With runners at second and third, Caldwell came through with a sacrifice fly then Thompson beat out a bunt hit on a squeeze to make it 5-0.

After Thompson swiped second and Green skied to left, Ezell lined an RBI single to center. He then stole second and third as Hayden Lessenberry drew a walk ahead of Marcus Wilson’s drive to left for an RBI double. And when Lessenberry scored on a wild pitch, it was 8-0.

An error, a single and a walk had the bases loaded with one out for St. Mark’s in the fifth but Dale picked off the runner at second and got the final out on a pop to Ty Harris at first.

In the sixth, three consecutive hits had the bags full for the Yellowjackets again only to have Dale pick off the runner at first then end the threat with a strikeout.

They loaded the bags again in the seventh after Knight struck out the first two batters. A walk and a pair of singles set the table and the lone St. Mark’s run scored on a hit batsman. But Knight ended it there with his third strikeout of the frame, bringing the game to an end.

In the second game, Bryant’s Nate Rutherford shut out the Florida team through four innings. A pair of diving catches by Daniel in right helped him work around a second-inning single. On the second grab, he popped up and doubled off the runner at first.

The Hornets grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Ezell walked, stole second and scored on a one-out single by Wilson. A balk allowed Wilson to advance to second then, on a passed ball, Wilson not only picked up third but made the turn and sprinted home.

Faith Baptist broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fifth on a trio of singles and a sacrifice fly. Catcher Trey Breeding ended the inning when he threw out the trail runner when he tried to steal second.

The Hornets were retired in order in the top of the sixth and, in the home half, a single, an error set the table. Rutherford gave way to Daniel on the mound and an RBI groundout and a two-out RBI single made it 4-2 before the final out was recorded.

Bryant's answering uprising began with a lined single to right by Dale. With one out, Caldwell blooped a single to right and Chase Tucker walked to fill the bases. With two down, Dale scored on a passed ball. Green walked to load them up again but a strikeout ended the game.Bryant shortstop Trevor Ezell (12) holds a runner at second. (Photo by J'Ann Boyd Lessenberry)

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