LUMBERTON — With the Southeastern Conference baseball schedule nearing its midpoint, the Scotland and Lumberton baseball teams each knew what a win Tuesday would mean.
Both teams entered the game tied for second in the conference standings with the loser dropping to the lower rungs.
Though either team managed only a handful of hits, the Pirates squeaked by with a 2-1 win on their home field.
“Every one of them is crucial,” said Scotland coach Jamie Coleman. “There’s a lot of parity in the league this year. I envision a conference champion having maybe two or three losses, so we’re still wide open. The season’s still out there and we’re going to continue to fight for it.
The loss broke a two-game win streak for Scotland (2-5, 2-2), which was playing its second game in as many days.
The hits were rare, with neither team allowing more than four hits. The difference was that the Pirates (7-5, 3-1) got a few runs to score.
The Pirates scored in the bottom of the first inning when Bryan Carpenter hit a liner off the glove of pitcher Grant English. Carpenter reached third off consecutive wild pitches. After Lumberton starting pitcher Daniel Oxendine walked, the Pirates had him get in a pickle between first and second, which allowed Carpenter to score.
Grant then retired 13 of the next 14 batters before Lumberton struck again. Travis Suggs walked with one out in the sixth, advanced on a single by Carpenter and scored when Oxendine doubled.
“When we did get a baserunner we made things happen,” said Lumberton coach Paul Hodges. “We got a couple of big key hits and got something together in that sixth inning.”
Conversely, Scotland struggled to do the same thing. In three innings, including after scoring their only run in the fifth, the Scots left a runner in scoring position. On the final play of the game, Tripp McDonald crossed home plate as Logan House was thrown out on a dropped third strike.
“We knew it was going to be tight,” he said. “I feel like the difference in the game is that we left too many runners in scoring position.
“We still had opportunities in our last at bat. With two outs, House is up there and he swings on strike three. He just got a little down instead of completing the play and running it out. You never know what happens there.”
Grant threw a complete game, allowing four hits with six strikeouts.
Lumberton used the tandem of Oxendine and Justice Sampson, who combined to allow three hits with seven strikeouts.
Sampson came in for the sixth after Oxendine struggled in the fifth.
Scotland got catcher Sam Gray on base to start the fifth when he was hit by a wild pitch. He later advanced to third on wild pitches and scored on a single by Nolan Pierce. Pierce had two of his team’s three hits.
Scott Schlaufman is the Sports Editor at The Robesonian. He can be reached on Twitter @ScottySchlauf.
Scotland softball wins 7-2
Scotland jumped out to an early lead and rode it to their second conference win in as many days with a 7-2 win over Lumberton on Monday.
Scotland scored four runs in the opening inning against the Pirates. The hosts responded with two of their own but the Scots’ Kenleigh Callahan held them off from scoring any more.
Callahan pitched a complete game for Scotland while allowing six hits, striking out seven and walking one.
“The girls played well today and it was good to get out early,” Scotland coach Patrick Williams said.
For Scotland, Avery Callahan went 2 for 4 at the plate and scored two runs. Cameron Sharpe went 1 for 3 with one RBI and one run scored, and Ashleigh Bailey went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Scotland is now 2-2 in the SEC and will host Richmond on Friday.