Blacksburg traveled to Pulaski on Thursday for a match-up with an old River Ridge foe. Pulaski is now coached by prominent alumni, and first year coach, Jared King. The game was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved up a day due to predictions of inclement weather.
In the top of the first inning, Blacksburg jumped out on top 1-0. Morgan McCoy led off the game with a double to left field. After an out, Ethan Goforth reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring McCoy and recording an RBI. Grayson Shelton was inserted as the courtesy runner for Goforth. Clean up hitter, Tyler Barry, drew a walk, putting runners on 1st and 2nd. Jack Madigan reached base on a fielder’s choice to the short stop, advancing Shelton to 3B. Dylan Surface was inserted to run for the pitcher, Madigan. A strike out ended the inning for the Bruins.
Pulaski scored a run to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the 1st. Two consecutive hits started the inning, and after an out, a sacrifice fly, scored a run for the Cougars.
Blacksburg was held scoreless in the top of the 2nd, sending just four batters to the plate. Adam Linkous singled with one out, but was stranded.
Starting Bruin pitcher Jack Madigan held Pulaski scoreless in the bottom half of the frame, walking one batter and recording two strike outs.
Blacksburg’s offense was silent also in the 3rd, this time sending five players to the plate. Jon Hinson had a bunt single to start the inning and then Goforth singled with a bunt of his own. However, three consecutive outs ended the scoring threat for Blacksburg.
Pulaski busted the game open in the bottom of the 3rd inning. A lead off walk put a runner on 1B. Then, a double to right field advanced the Cougar runner on 1B to 3B. A RBI single scored two runs for the Cougars. Another walk put a runner on base and then a single to right field scored another run. A Cougar RBI double brought another run home. Blacksburg was able to contain the damage with three straight outs, a fly out, and two strikeouts. The four runs Pulaski scored ran the score to 5-1.
In typical fashion, Blacksburg battled right back, scoring two runs of their own to close the gap to 5-3. Jake Schirmer led off the inning with a walk, and then Tyler Davis singled to right field, advancing Schirmer to 3B. A strike out recorded the first out for the Bruins, and then Mccoy reached on an error, permitting Schirmer to score. Hinson sacrificed bunted, scoring Davis. After a walk, Blacksburg hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. However, the Bruins had responded well in immediately answering the Cougars to make the score 5-3.
In the Bottom of the 4th, Pulaski extended their lead, almost exclusively on Bruin miscues. The Cougar’s lead off batter reached on an infield error and then a single advanced the first runner to 3B,. He then scored on a error by the outfielder on the play. The next batter drew a walk, followed by a player reaching base on a fielder’s choice. An out was then called for “coach interference,” which would have ended the inning. However, with just two outs, the inning continued and Pulaski capitalized on the opportunity. The next batter was HBP, which loaded the bases. Then, another infield error allowed Pulaski to re-load the bases and a run to score. A walk scored another run and reloaded the bases for the third consecutive time. Blacksburg was able to buckle down and end the inning. However, the inning proved to be a tough one for the Bruns as the Cougars had extended their lead to 9-3.
In the top of the 5th, Blacksburg fought back yet again. With one out, Jake Schirmer drew a walk to get things started. Tyler Davis then singled, advancing Schirmer to 3B. Adam Linkous singled to center field, sending home both runners and recording two RBIs. Jake Verniel kept the rally going, singling to center field and scoring Linkous. Two outs ended the inning, but not before Blacksburg had narrowed the lead to 9-6.
In the bottom of the 5th, Blacksburg pitcher Jon Hinson halted the two inning Cougar run. Despite two lead off walks, Hinson retired the next three batters in order, which was a big change in the game’s momentum.
Blacksburg could not score in the top of the 6th, however. Goforth led off with a single to left field, but then three outs ended the inning, and stranded Shelton, who was running for Goforth.
In the bottom of the 6th, Pulaski got a hit with one out. A second single advanced the runner to 2B. A 3rd single loaded the bases for the Cougars. Pulaski’s Jesse Draper recorded his 4th hit of the game, driving in a run to extend the Cougar’s lead 10-6. Another single scored two more runs to move the score to 12-6. A nice ground ball double play from McCoy to Madigan to Davis ended the inning.
Blacksburg would score a run in the top of the 7th and eventually load the bases with just one out, but the game was called due to darkness. Per VHSL rules, the game stats and outcome reverts back to the previous full inning, or a 12-6 final score.
Head Coach Danny Shouse was very direct about his team's performance. Shouse said, “We didn’t come to play today. We have to to be focused and we were not. We were all separated, some stopping to get fast food. and getting there at different times and it just isn’t good. It’s just a loss. We have a lot of baseball left to play. I have to give Jared King credit as he’s turned that program around in a very short period of time. We executed well on hits and runs, but we have to stop the mental mistakes. Too many mental and physical mistakes. I’ll just say it…You can’t win high school ball games making a bunch of errors every game and we had 3 more tonight. We’ve got to get that fixed and that’s on me.”
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Adam Linkous, Tyler Davis, and Ethan Goforth, who each had two hits. Linkous had two RBIs and Jake Schirmer drew two walks and reached base three times.
Blacksburg pitchers, Jack Madigan and Jon Hinson, gave up 13 hits, 12 runs, 9 of which were earned, 7 walks, and recorded 6 strikeouts.
Blacksburg had 9 hits, drew 6 walks, had 5 strikeouts, and made 3 errors in the field.
With the loss, Blacksburg falls to 3-1 on the season. The Bruins play next at home vs Giles @ 4:30 on Monday and then travels to Cave Spring on Tuesday @ 4:30 for their first conference game of the season.