With a complete-game shutout, in which he gave up only two hits and struck out nine while walking just two, Read led the Pirates to a 3-0 win over their biggest county rival. Read's performance overshadowed that of Locklear, who pitched a complete game four-hitter and struck out eight.
“Anytime Purnell Swett and Lumberton match up, whether we're undefeated or our records are .500 like they've been, it's still a big game,” Pirates coach Paul Hodges said. “I think tonight Mac came out and gave us another good performance and our defense was excellent. We made some really great plays out there.”
Read, whose record improves to 2-2 and 2-0 in the Two Rivers Conference, said his defense deserves a lot of the credit for the shutout.
“I was alright,” he said. “I hung a few pitches and made a few mistakes, and that wasn't too good, but all I do is try to go out there and make them hit the ball on the ground and let the defense make a play. I just trust the defense.”
With each team still hitless going into the bottom of the third inning, Lumberton's Travis Ransom broke the offensive slump with a leadoff triple off of a 3-2 fastball that landed in deep right field. As the Pirates tried unsuccessfully to bunt Ransom in, Locklear walked two of the next three batters and then issued a bases-loaded free pass to rightfielder Justin Emanuel to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
“We didn't execute that at all, we had two opportunities and two hitters didn't execute,” Hodges said of the failed bunt attempts. “But we were able to get lucky, they walked a man, and we were able to get a run across. That was kind of lucky because we didn't execute.”
The Pirates added two more runs in the fifth inning, the first coming off an RBI single from Emanuel that brought in Read - who reached with a single in the previous at-bat - and the second coming after an error from Rams first-baseman Andrew Goins allowed Emanuel to score.
The three runs turned out to be enough for the Pirates as Read continued his dominance on the mound.
“Anytime Mac goes on the mound, we've got a chance to win,” Hodges said.
Lumberton improves to 5-4 overall and 2-0 in the conference. The Rams drop to 3-8 and 1-2.