With a strong wind blowing Tuesday afternoon at Titan Field, the River Ridge baseball matchup between Hidden Valley and Blacksburg seemed destined for a hitter’s paradise.
But, Blacksburg starting pitcher Tyler Davis had other designs. Throw strikes and keep the ball on the ground.
Going the distance on the hill for the Bruins, Davis scattered three Hidden Valley hits as Blacksburg pulled away for the 10-2 win.
It was the first loss of the season for the Titans, who had opened the campaign with three wins. Blacksburg improved to 3-0.
“A big win for our team,” Blacksburg head coach Danny Shouse said after the victory. “Tyler did a great job. I think he only threw 68 pitches. Plus, we hit the ball well again today. We just went out there to have fun.”
“We picked up back-to-back wins over two very talented Southwest County teams,” Shouse added of his team’s follow-up to their 8-5 win on Monday against Cave Spring.
Davis did a masterful job of keeping the Titan bats at bay.
The righty faced the minimum 9 batters through the first three innings after Hidden Valley’s only baserunner, Matthew Whitely, was erased on a double play after reaching via a walk in the third.
Blacksburg had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on a RBI double by Jake Verneil before Hidden Valley tied things up in their half of the fourth on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Nick Elder with the bases loaded and one out.
But, the Titans ran themselves out of the rally and Blacksburg used the momentum to take charge.
Verneil opened the Bruin fifth with a single off Titan starter Nick Elder’s glove. After a walk, Sebi Cianelli doubled to the center field fence for one run and Morgan McCoy followed with a single through the drawn-in Titan infield to make it 3-1.
Hidden Valley looked ready to escape further damage when Titan catcher Matt Uttermark tagged out Cianelli in a rundown, but singles by Adam Linkous and Ben Andstrom put the Bruins up 5-1, ending the afternoon for Elder. Thomas Bolinger relieved for the Titans and kept Hidden Valley’s hopes alive by coaxing a double play grounder to end the Bruin fifth.
Blacksburg put the game away with a five run sixth, capped off by a three-run homer to deep left by Jake Schirmer that made it 10-1.
Hidden Valley scratched out one final run after scoring on a double play groundout in the bottom of the seventh after loading the bases with none out.
“I just got off to a good start,” Davis noted of his performance on the mound for his first win of the season. “Things can go very well when you throw strikes.”