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Legion baseball: Durham, Wagner spark Rowan win

 Staff report

SALISBURY — Lefty Daniel Durham pitched five strong innings, and Bryson Wagner went 3-for-3 as Rowan County beat Davidson County, 7-3, on Friday at Newman Park.

While Rowan is only 2-2 and in third place in the Southern Division of Area III, it has won six of eight against Northern Division opponents this season and is 16-6 overall.

Durham (2-0) was the key to the game. He’s been used mostly in relief, but Rowan needs a No. 4 starter, and he made his case for that role. He gave Rowan a chance to win. He allowed seven hits and walked three, but he struck out six and was able to pitch out of tough spots, including a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.

Davidson (9-7) had baserunners in every inning against Durham and relievers Scout Nichols and Carsen Bailey but stranded 10. Most of Davidson’s offense came from the 1-2 hitters. Landon Hilbourne and Nick Tiller had three hits each.

Rowan’s offense, after being shut down at Kannapolis on Thursday, got back on track with six extra-base hits. Wagner had two doubles. Chandler Lippard had a double and connected for his fourth homer of the season — and first at Newman Park — with a man on in the sixth. He’s homered in two straight games.

Rowan smacked 12 hits against three Davidson pitchers and won for the eighth time in a row against its neighbor.

Davidson’s last win against Rowan was a 2-0 decision early in the 2015 season. Rowan has roughed up Davidson since then, including a sweep of a best-of-five playoff series in 2016.

Rowan was down 1-0 in the bottom of the third when Wagner got Rowan’s offense started. He sliced a double on an 0-and-2 curveball. Then lead-off hitter Hayden Setzer singled him home.

It appeared the Rowan fourth would be quiet after Davidson County starter Nathan Burton got two quick outs, but John Owen beat out a bunt single and Garrett Alewine kept the inning going with another hit. That got Wagner to the plate and he whipped a two-strike fastball down the left-field line for the key hit of the game. That tie-breaking, two-run double put Rowan ahead to stay, 3-1.

Zach Cates produced a two-out RBI single in the fifth as Post 8 inched back within 3-2, but Lonnie Bailey lined out to Lippard at first base with the bases full to end the inning.

Owen walked with the bases loaded in the Rowan fifth to extend the lead to 4-2.

Davidson County had a couple of hits off Nichols in the sixth, but he got help from left fielder Wayne Mize, who threw out a runner at the plate. Alewine made the tag.

Rowan got three more two-out runs in the sixth to finally get some breathing room. DH Trevor Atwood doubled off the wall to score Wagner. Then Lippard hit his towering homer.

Davidson scored an unearned run in the seventh against Bailey with the help of Rowan’s first error of the night, but he calmly got the last two outs with two men on base.

Rowan has division games coming up the next two nights, with Stanly County at Newman Park tonight (Setzer will pitch).  Mocksville, which ended  a 17-game losing streak to Rowan earlier this season, visits on Sunday.

Davidson County    oo1  o1o  o   — 3   10  1

Rowan County      001  213   x   — 7    12  1

W — Durham (2-0). L — Burton.

HR — Rowan: Lippard (4).

Leading hitters — Davidson: Hilbourne 3-for-4, Tiller 3-for-4. Rowan: Wagner 3-for-3, 2 RBIs, Atwood 2-for-3, Lippard 2-for-4, 2 RBIs, Setzer 2-for-4.

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