LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Hornets junior varsity erupted for nine runs in the fifth inning then held off a rally by Little Rock Central in the bottom of the inning to extract an 11-6 win over the Tigers JV at Buddy Coleman Field on Tuesday.
Cameron Price and Josh Pultro each had two-run hits and Jimi Easterling tripled to drive in two more during the inning.
Landon Pickett picked up the win in relief of starter Tyler Brown. Matt Neal came on in the fifth.[more]
Central took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the second. With one out, Josh Hale was it by a pitch then walks were issued to Noah Burks and Chase Alexander to load the bases. Brown got Russell Penn to ground to Hayden Daniel at short. Daniel flipped to Ozzie Hurt for the force at second but Penn beat the relay as Hale scored.
The Hornets answered with two in the top of the third. Easterling singled and when Hurt got a sacrifice bunt down, a wild throw allowed the runners to reach second and third. Walks to Daniel and Evan Jobe forced in a run. Caleb Milam picked up an RBI when he grounded into a force at second, hustling to beat the relay to first as Hurt scored to make it 2-1.
The Tigers turned a doubleplay to end the inning.
Central loaded the bases on a pair of hit batsmen and a walk in the bottom of the third but Pickett came on to get out of the jam. He picked off the runner at first then struck out the batter. A walk re-loaded the bags but a fly out to Pultro in center ended the inning with the lead intact.
In the fourth, Burks relieved for the Tigers and worked around a hit batsman. In the bottom of the inning, Pickett surrendered a lead-off single to Hale but then struck out the side.
Bryant’s game-breaking fifth began with a walk to Easterling and another sacrifice bunt by Hurt that drew a wild throw to first. With runners at second and third, Daniel lined a single to left the make it 3-1. With Hurt at third, Daniel swiped second ahead of a walk to Jobe that loaded the bags for Tyler Nelson. His sacrifice fly made it 4-1.
Pickett drew a free pass and the bases were juiced again. Price then greeted a new pitcher with a two-run double to left. Pultro followed with a shot up the middle for his two-run single that bumped the lead to 8-1.
Hayden Lessenberry lined a single to right then Easterling chased both Pultro and Lessenberry home with his triple to deep right-center. A groundout by Hurt brought Easterling home, making it 11-1.
A trio of walks around a strikeout started Central’s rally. Adam Hope singled in a run then Brandon Schmidt doubled to right, plating two more.
Neal came on with the lead at 11-4. After an RBI single and a stolen base by Jacob Green, Easterling snagged a liner to third but an attempt to double off Green at second went awry. A run scored to make it 11-6.
With Green at third and two down, Neal got Burks to fly to Jobe in right to end the game.
The next time the Bryant JV plays, it will be against the Pace High School JV in Florida at 6 p.m., on Monday, March 22, in conjunction with the varsity team’s trip to the Northwest Florida Powerade Classic, hosted by Crestview, Fla., High School. There will also be a JV game on Tuesday at 3 p.m. against the Niceville, Fla., junior varsity.