Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013
KANNAPOLIS — South Rowan catcher Eric Tyler basically hit for the cycle defensively on Wednesday.
He threw out Northwest Cabarrus runners at first, second and third and also made an incredible play at the plate for the out that keyed South’s 6-5 victory in the F&M Bank Classic.
“Not having a great day with the bat, but you always want to make an impact somehow,” Tyler said.
Dillon Parker’s two-out single to right in the bottom of the seventh scored Dylan Goodman from second base with the winning run. Parker’s hit barely fell in safely, but once the ball was on the grass, the shaky Raiders (9-3) emerged as winners.
“We’ve played a lot better games, but the plan was just to find a way to get a win and we did,” Parker said. “I’d had a rough start, but I focused up on that last at-bat.”
On a scale of 1 to 10, South was maybe a 2, but that was enough to beat a Northwest Cabarrus team reeling from yet another ACL injury to Jordan Goodman. The Catawba signee was hurt again recently while pursuing a foul ball.
“Jordan is the best hitter I’ve ever played with,” Tyler said. “That changes their lineup a lot.”
NWC (4-10) left the bases loaded in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. It’s safe to say that wouldn’t have happened had J-Good been healthy.
“We put ourselves in holes all day and Northwest was fighting tough on every at-bat,” South coach Thad Chrismon said. “But I have to give our pitchers some credit. They made some good pitches when it looked like Northwest might have big innings.”
Nathan Lambert pitched four innings and held the Trojans to two runs. Andrew Fulton and Blake Sechler walked eight Trojans in the last three innings, but they somehow dodged disaster. Billy Winecoff (1-0) got Grayson Miller to pop up for the final out in the seventh — with UNC signee Tanner Bigham on deck.
Tyler Fuller’s two-run triple off Justin Dixon gave South a 4-0 lead. Daniel Hamilton pitched well for NWC the last four innings.
Tyler’s largest play came in the fifth when he stabbed a wide throw and stretched like a first baseman. He kept a cleat on the plate and got a forceout that derailed a huge inning.
“I just kind of threw my glove out there and got lucky,” Tyler said.
South took a 5-4 lead to the seventh but six straight NWC batters reached base on two singles, a walk and three errors. But only one of them scored because Tyler picked a runner off first and gunned down another trying for third base on an overthrow.
“When you struggle, you can buckle or you can bounce back,” Chrismon said. “We bounced back.”