Legion baseball: Rowan can’t hold lead vs. Florence
NEWBERRY, S.C. — A five-run lead didn’t provide any security for the Rowan County American Legion team in Friday’s opening game in the North Carolina/South Carolina Challenge at Newberry.
Florence Post 1 used a four-run fifth to pull even with Rowan and won 7-6 on Noah Carter’s walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh.
Rowan got a good mound effort from lefty Daniel Durham. He allowed single runs in the first and third, but he appeared to be in control of the game the first four innings. Durham took a 6-2 lead to the bottom of the fifth, but when he hit the No. 8 batter to start that inning, Rowan turned to its bullpen and things didn’t go well.
Reliever Cameron Graham was hurt by an error and he also gave up three solid hits, two for extra-bases, while facing six batters. Jake Davis relieved Graham to get the last out in the fifth, but by then it was 6-all.
Davis kept Florence (11-2) from scoring in the sixth, but he was quickly in trouble in the seventh after Connor Kirkley led off the inning with a double. After an intentional pass to No. 3 hitter Will Hardee, cleanup man Carter hammered his game-winning double.
Down 1-0 early, Rowan tied the game in the top of the second when Zeb Burns doubled home a run.
Then Rowan put together a five-run third that chased Florence starter Timmy Felder. Cole Hales and Wayne Mize started the big inning with infield hits. Luke Barringer rapped into a fielder’s choice for the first out, but Bo Rusher stroked a run-scoring single for a 2-1 lead and Durham singled to make it 3-1. As the inning continued, Bryson Wagner doubled home a run and Jordan Goodine and Hales drew bases-loaded walks.
Austin Moore relieved Felder and struggled with control initially. But once he settled in, he shut Rowan’s offense down. Rowan didn’t score after the third.
Rowan hitters went down 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh, with four strikeouts in the last two innings. Rowan left nine men on base.
Rowan 015 000 0 — 6 9 2
Florence 101 040 1 — 7 10 1
W — Moore. L — Davis (0-1).
HR — None.
Leading hitters — Rowan: Hales 2-for-3, RBI; Rusher 2-for-3, RBI; Burns 2-for-4, RBI. Florence: D.P. Pendergrass 3-for-4, 3 runs; Hardee 2-for-3, 2 RBIs; Carter 2-for-4, 2 RBIs.
Rowan County xxx xxx x — x x x
Randolph County xxx xxx x — x x x
Leading hitters —