Mustangs Fall to Bulldogs' Rally
Most baseball coaches would prefer not to open their season with a conference game.
But with rain postponing the North Moore baseball opener against nonconference Lexington, the Mustangs were forced to start the season at Yadkin Valley Conference foe Albemarle Tuesday.
The host Bulldog pitcher, Dee Kaiser, appeared to already be in mid-season form as he fanned 10 Mustang batters in five innings of work.
After falling behind early, the Mustangs took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh inning, but Albemarle was able to plate a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame for a 5-4 victory.
“We missed a lot of opportunities to score some runs,” said Brandon Reynolds, as he heads into his fourth season at the helm of the Mustangs’ program. “We left too many men on base and we struck out 10 times, many times looking at the third strike. Our pitching was good, and I was pleased with Heath’s (Carriker) work on the mound. We just didn’t score the runs when we had a chance.
“We play in a tough conference, and when you play on the road, you have to bring you’re ‘A’ game. I’m still learning (about the) guys and what they can do.”
Carriker went six-plus innings before being relieved by Colton Yedkois in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Mustangs missed their first scoring opportunity in the top of the first inning when they loaded the bases with no outs. However, Kaiser fanned the next two batters and got the final out on a fly ball hit into center field.
The Bulldogs scored their first run in the bottom half of the first inning. The Mustangs collected their first hit of the season in the second inning when Luke Auman ripped a ball up the middle for a single.
The Mustangs tied the score in the top of the third inning when Dustin Morrison hit a single that the Bulldogs’ second baseman couldn’t quite reach with two outs. Morrison moved to third when Justin Marley hit a blooper into shallow center field for a single. Marley tried to steal second base and during the rundown, Morrison scored for the season’s first run.
Albemarle responded with a run in the bottom of the third inning for a 2-1 lead. North Moore took a 3-2 lead in the sixth, scoring a pair of runs on hits by Landon Auman and Marley. After Albemarle tied the score in the bottom of the sixth inning, Vaughn led off the seventh inning with a single and moved to third base. He later scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball.
The Bulldogs tied the score in the bottom of the inning and then loaded the bases. The runner scored when the Bulldog batter sharply hit a ball to the shortstop, but the throw to the plate was late for the force out, giving Albemarle the victory.
The Mustangs finished with seven hits, while the Bulldogs managed five hits for their five runs. Vaughn and Marley had two hits each while Luke Auman, Landon Auman and Morrison added one hit each.
The Mustangs travel to Chatham Central today for an important conference match-up. The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
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