South Rowan baseball beats Salisbury
SALISBURY — South Rowan's pitching depth surprised everyone — including South.
Jonnie Lefebvre and Blake Sechler probably are No. 5 and No. 6 on South's pitching chart, but they walked only one Salisbury batter, held the Hornets to five hits and keyed the Raiders' 7-2 victory at Robertson Stadium on a frigid Thursday evening.
“We need some depth,” South coach Thad Chrismon said. “And those two guys showed they can help us.”
Lefebvre (1-0), making his first start of the season, pitched four innings for the win. Sechler finished up and earned his first save.
“Their pitchers threw strikes and we didn't find any holes,” summed up Salisbury slugger Chance Bowden, who had two of the Hornets' hits.
Salisbury hasn't found many holes against South for a long time. South has won 13 straight matchups with the Hornets since Boo Blount shut down the Raiders 3-1 at Newman Park in 2000.
Salisbury (3-5) continues to puzzle head coach Scott Maddox. The Hornets still haven't won back-to-back and they have yet to win at home.
“I was disappointed with our lack of focus and effort today because it's not like South hit us with everything they have,” Maddox said. “We had a big CCC win Tuesday, but we didn't build on it.”
The turning point occurred early. Salisbury pitcher Harrison Smith (0-1) got two quick outs in the first, but Eric Tyler walked to extend the inning.
When Dillon Parker's flyball to center was dropped, South (6-3) led 1-0. Two more walks followed to fill the bases. Next came Jake Fulton's bloop to right that fell for a two-run single, and an RBI single that Lefebvre smoked to left field for a 4-0 South lead.
“We've got a freshman pitcher making his first start, and our veterans have got to help him out more than we did,” Maddox said. “Sure, it was windy today, but guys still have to catch flyballs.”
Salisbury tried to get back into it in the third. Skyler Mikkelson singled and Ryan Jones doubled into the left-field corner to start the inning.
Brian Bauk's groundout plated a run, and Bowden's RBI single made it 4-2, but Lefebvre retired Parker McKeithan on a groundball and got Riley Myers on an infield popup.
South collected its fifth unearned run in the fourth. Tyler bounced back to the box for what should've been an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play and a momentum-changer, but the Hornets committed another costly error to go down 5-2.
Dylan Goodman and Tyler drew bases-loaded walks against reliever Scott Friederich for South's final two runs in the fifth.
Salisbury couldn't rally against Sechler, the latest submariner tutored by Chrismon.
“I said last year I'd like to try pitching like that, and I've thrown a few bullpens,” Sechler said. “It's coming along pretty good.”
“Blake has worked extra hard to learn the mechanics,” he said. “It's not an easy thing to do in practice, much less being able to pitch with control against live batters.”