Wood continues mastery, leads Hornets past Tigers
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).
JONESBORO — In four previous outings, Travis Wood had been dominating. The Bryant junior left-hander had allowed just one hit in 19 innings and struck out a whopping 46. None of that, of course, is anything to sneeze at against any competition but, admittedly, Wood was ready to be challenged. After all, only one of the teams he had faced has a winning record, the Cabot Panthers have gone 7-2 since Wood and the Hornets thumped them 10-0 in the first round of the Sylvan Hills Tournament on Feb. 28.
On Friday, March 19, Wood and the Hornets found their challenge, the perennially stout Bentonville Tigers of the rugged AAAAA-West Conference. The Tigers came into the game, in the second day of the Xtra Innings Classic at Jonesboro High School, with a 6-1 mark including a pair of wins in as many conference games.
Challenge answered: Wood pitched a one-hitter, walked three and struck out 13 as the Hornets improved to 11-0 on the season with a 3-1 victory. Yes, Bentonville was able to score, the first run Wood has surrendered all season, but it was unearned.
It came in the fourth inning, ending Wood’s scoreless-inning streak at 22. Zack Hedges opened the inning with Bentonville’s only hit of the game, a single up the middle. A walk put runners at first and second then a passed ball allowed Hedges to reach third. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Travis Gunter.
The only other time Bentonville threatened came in the seventh inning when a walk and error and a wild pitch had the tying runs in scoring position and the potential winning run at the plate with one out. But Wood struck out Kevin Lyles and Teddy Barnes to end the game with a flourish.
The Hornets scored single runs in the first, second and sixth innings. In the first, Todd Bryan reached on an error and Dustin Tinkler was hit by a pitch. Bryan was forced at third on a grounder by Justin Wells but Bryan Griffith walked to load the bases and Zach Young walked to force in the run.
In the second, Korey Hunter reached on an error with one out. A grounder to short by Dustin Easterly was also botched and Bryan delivered the run with an infield hit.
The Hornets put runners on base in every inning. In the third, they loaded the bases with one out on singles by Griffith and Richie Wood and a walk to Young but left them stranded.
After Bentonville cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth, Bryant added an insurance run in the sixth. Easterly led off with a single, Bryan advanced courtesy runner Hunter Nugent to second with a sacrifice bunt then Tinkler singled him to third. Three pitches later, Wells singled to drive in the run.
Wells and Richie Wood each had two hits in the game and the Hornets had eight altogether, stranding 10.