Statesboro’s troubles on the baseball diamond continued Friday night as Greenbrier breezed to an 11-0 win in five innings at Mill Creek Regional Park.
The Wolfpack scored six times in the top of the third inning and added five more in the fourth after two scoreless innings of play by both teams to open the game.
“Those big innings continue to be the gorilla in our dugout,” said SHS coach Chris Bishop. “Greenbrier is a good team, but it was our mental mistakes that let that game get away. That shouldn’t have been an 11-0 ballgame.”
The Blue Devils (1-7, 0-2 Region 2-AAAA) sent D.J. Grimes to the mound to begin Friday’s matchup.
The junior right-hander coasted through the first two innings, but the Greenbrier bats sprung to life in the third after a pair of Blue Devil errors offered a helping hand.
Brandon Whisman began the frame with a swinging bunt and reached first safely when Lance Mangrum couldn’t handle Grimes’ throw.
Grimes bobbled Jake Sandlin’s sacrifice bunt attempt to put runners on first and second and Will Price (3-for-3, 3 RBIs) singled home Whisman for the first run of the game.
Sandlin came home to score on a balk before the Wolfpack blew the game open on consecutive RBI hits by Kyler Timmerman (2-for-2, 2 RBIs, 2 runs), Spencer Duffie and Taylor Glover.
Glover’s double chased Grimes from the game. Sean Blakely came in from the SHS bullpen to close out the inning, but allowed Glover to score on a wild pitch to make it 6-0 before sitting down Greenbrier.
“Sometimes, it’s the little things that get you,” said Bishop. “We did a better job of throwing strikes on the mound, but you make one error here and there and it can snowball on you. A couple of mistakes really cost us.”
The fourth inning was equally rough for Blue Devil pitchers.
Whisman again started the rally with a single and advanced to second on a perfectly placed bunt single by Turner.
Price offered up another big hit in the form of a two-run triple with Timmerman and Duffie notching a run-scoring double and an RBI single, respectively.
Glover singled home Duffie before Ricky Cook relieved Blakely to finish the inning with Greenbrier holding a dominating 11-0 edge.
The two big innings were more than enough for Wolfpack starter Clint Hardy.
Hardy made quick work of the Statesboro lineup, surrendering just four hits and sitting down three Blue Devils down on strikes.
Statesboro’s biggest threat came early as Hayden Rollins doubled to lead off the first inning, but was stranded when Hardy retired the next three batters in order.
Rollins added an infield single in the third inning to cap a 2-for-3 day at the plate, but no Blue Devil ever advanced past second base.
“(Hardy) was very effective,” said Bishop. “He had three pitches and he threw all of them for strikes. He wasn’t overpowering, but he hit his spots and let our batters get themselves out. That’s the kind of thing that we’re trying to instill in our pitchers.”
Statesboro will try to bounce back this afternoon as the Blue Devils host Thomson at 2 p.m. in a non-region matchup.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.