Rowan eliminates Sumter
By Bret Strelow
SUMTER, S.C. ó Rowan County starter Corbin Shive wasn’t welcoming to the Southeast Regional host.
Shive beat Sumter Post 15 for the second time in five days, pitching eight sharp innings as Rowan advanced to the regional final with a 10-6 victory at Riley Park. A six-run top of the sixth inning, sparked by Matt Miller’s bases-loaded walk and capped by Trey Holmes’ two-run homer, broke a 2-all tie.
Shive, who departed with a 10-3 lead, allowed seven hits and struck out six batters without issuing a walk. He tossed a three-hitter in Rowan’s 1-0 win against Sumter on the opening night of the double-elimination event.
“I didn’t feel as good as I did Thursday, but I felt good enough to go out there and get the job done,” Shive said.
Sumter (27-11) took a 2-0 edge into the fourth inning Monday afternoon. An infield single, perfectly executed hit-and-run and sacrifice fly led to a run in the second inning, and the P-15’s added another with two away in the third when a Rowan outfielder lost a flyball in the sun. Cam Martin, who scored on the play, had reached on an error.
Shive (8-0) pitched four scoreless innings after allowing those tough-luck runs.
“Throwing the second time against the same team, I had to mix up my pitches more and keep them off-balanced more,” Shive said. “I threw my changeup a lot more today and got them out on their front foot. I threw a curveball a little more.”
Sumter left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who shut out Rowan (36-8) for seven innings Thursday, didn’t make it out of the sixth inning Monday. A one-out walk to Jon Crucitti put two runners aboard, and Montgomery plunked Casey Little to load the bases.
Miller fell behind 0-2 in the count but drew a seven-pitch walk to push Rowan ahead for good.
“After I got down 0-2, I just tried to keep fouling stuff off and make him pitch to me instead of chasing stuff,” Miller said. “He was locating his breaking ball really good. When you have a pitcher locating a breaking ball, once you get down 0-2, it’s going to be tough to come back and get a walk.”
Philip Miclat followed with a two-run double off reliever George James, and he scored on a single by Preston Troutman. Holmes then belted a two-run homer to center field.
The left-handed Holmes went 0-for-6 in two games against Montgomery but delivered clutch hits off Sumter righties.
“I think I was just pressing and trying to do too much against the lefty,” Holmes said. “You have to tip your hat to him. He’s probably the best pitcher we’ve seen all year. What he did was he pitched. We had trouble with him, and I had trouble with him. They took him out, and we took advantage.”