The Brunswick Pirates may have outhit Statesboro 3-2, but the Blue Devils were able to persevere, manufacturing some runs early, and riding the arm of Eddie Mitchell to a 3-2 victory Monday evening at Mill Creek Regional Park.
Mitchell was unhitable for the first five innings, and ended up allowing only two hits and one run while striking out nine Pirate batters in earning the win on the mound.
“The pitching performance by Eddie Mitchell was fantastic,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “His pitch count was a little high, but some of that came because of all the strikeouts he had. \”
The Blue Devils were able to jump out to an early lead, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the second on no hits. Austin Arendes was hit by a pitch to lead things off. Blake Stanford then reached on an error, which advanced the runners to second and third.
Arendes then came in to score on a fielder's choice ground out by Drake Horton.
Ames Rackleff extended the Blue Devil lead to 2-0 as he drove home Stanford from third on a sacrifice fly to left field. Still in the second Harrison Hughes would reach on a walk, stole second base, and then scored as Bradley Gronfeld’s ground ball to second was booted, to make it 3-0 Statesboro.
“We didn’t really hit the ball well tonight,” Simmons said. “The thing I’m proud of is that we were able to score a few runs without hits. By being fundamentally sound, and having productive at bats, as well as running the bases well we were able to score those three runs on no hits.”
The Pirates finally got on the board in the sixth. A deep fly ball down the right field line by Mitchell Richburg ended up as a double allowing Kyle Patterson to score, and trimmed the lead to 3-1.
Simmons brought Neal Fordham in to close things out in the ninth, but Fordham ended up in a jam. The third error of the game by Statesboro allowed Bryson Wilson to reach base. That was followed by a bloop single to left, and then a walk to load the bases.
Drake Horton then came in to pitch and got a bloop to shallow right which was dropped allowing Wilson to score from third to cut the lead to 3-2. Horton then got a ground out, and a pop out to second to end the game.
“I felt like Neal Fordham did his job, but we booted a couple balls,” Simmons said. “Drake Horton did a good job getting the final two outs and ending things.”
Statesboro improves to 4-3 on the season. Next up the Blue Devils will travel to Brunswick Wednesday at 6:00, and then return home to play Brunswick Friday at 6:00 at Mill Creek Park.