Big innings lift Bryant past Morrilton
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
Luke Brown had two hits and drove in three as the Bryant Hornets improved to 3-0 on the season with an 9-4 victory over the Morrilton Devil Dogs at Hornets Field Thursday, March 1.
Senior right-hander Matt Lewis picked up the win with relief help from junior lefty Cody Dreher, who notched a save. After issuing a pair of walks to start the fifth, Dreher retired the next nine Devil Dogs to end the game.
Lewis staked himself to a 1-0 lead in the second when he singled in a run with one out.
He had not allowed a hit to Morrilton until No. 9 batter Scott Roper looped a single to center to start the third. Bloop hits by Shadrick Williams and Scott Hoyt plated a tying run then Williams scored on a groundout to give the Dogs the lead.
Bryant countered with a four-run uprising in the home half of the inning. Two-out singles by Matt Brown and Brandon Nichols finished Morrilton starter Ryan Bradshaw. Reliever Jeremy Koone came in and proceeded to walk the first two he faced to force in a run. Luke Brown then cleared the bases with a shot to left-center for a double.
Morrilton trimmed a run off the 5-2 margin in the fourth. Aaron Grady beat out an infield hit, stole second, took third on a sacrifice and scored on another scratch hit by Roper. The ball never left the infield in the inning.
Dreher took over in the fifth and, after the pair of walks that started his stint, got Koone to ground out to the third as the runners advanced.
Wes Swindell then hit a grounder to Matt Brown at short. He came home with it and nailed Hoyt, the lead runner. But, moments later, the Dogs worked a double steal and Jacob Ledbetter scored.
Dreher then fanned Grady to strand the potential tying run at third.
The Hornets’ game-breaking sixth began with a double down the left-field line by Zach Martin. He scored on a single by Matt White who advanced to second when his hit was bobbled in the outfield.
After another pitching change, Dustin Morris drilled a fly to deep center that Grady tracked down but dropped. With runners at second and third, Matt Brown lofted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring White to make it 7-4.
Morris, who went to third on Brown’s fly, was still there when Cody Graddy walked with two out. Courtesy runner A.J. Nixon and Morris then worked a double steal to make it 8-4. Nixon later scored on a two-out double by Beau Hamblin.
After fanning Grady to end the fifth, Dreher finished each of the next two innings with strikeouts.