Chapel Hill pulls away from Jordan-Matthews

Posted 3/22/19

SILER CITY — Summoned to the mound in the bottom of the fifth with two Jordan-Matthews runners in scoring position, no outs and his team clinging to a one-run lead, Chapel Hill reliever Matt White …

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Chapel Hill pulls away from Jordan-Matthews

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SILER CITY — Summoned to the mound in the bottom of the fifth with two Jordan-Matthews runners in scoring position, no outs and his team clinging to a one-run lead, Chapel Hill reliever Matt White proceeded to retire the next three batters in order to work his way out of a jam.

After that, the visitors from Orange County tallied four runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away as the Tigers took advantage of J-M mistakes to claim a 10-4 non-conference victory in diamond action Wednesday night on Jimmy Warfford Field.

Raising its overall record to 2-3, Chapel Hill improved to 3-0 all-time against the Jets while Jordan-Matthews fell to 4-2 for the season.

Tigers’ starter Porter Lonegan went four innings to get the win, surrendering three hits and one earned run while walking two and striking out four.

Jackson Snider pitched one-third of an inning in relief, giving up one hit plus three earned runs in addition to issuing four free passes and whiffing one prior to White hurling scoreless ball over the final two and two-third frames, allowing two hits while fanning six to pick up a save.

Chris Rios opened on the hill for J-M and was tagged with the loss after yielding a pair of hits and four unearned runs while walking three and striking out four over two and two-third innings.

Relievers Luke Hinshaw, Seth Moore and Logan Snyder combined to toss the last four and one-third innings for the Jets and collectively gave up four hits and six runs (three earned) besides issuing three bases on balls and fanning three.

“The key to tonight’s win was our ability to execute on the mound when we needed to,” related Chapel Hill coach Bryan Tuck.

“Porter Lonegan gave us four strong innings before Matt White entered in the fifth and shut the door on a Jordan-Matthews rally while striking out six of the 10 batters he faced. We also were able to manufacture some runs with heads-up base running while capitalizing on J-M errors.”

Jets’ coach John Will Headen said the game was a lesson for his team in how to handle adversity when somebody puts pressure on you.

“We’re not hitting to our potential right now. We booted the ball around tonight and we stranded too many (nine) base runners,” noted Headen.

“But,” he added, “I thought we showed some fight and grit to battle back from a five-run deficit even though we couldn’t quite get over the hump.”

The Tigers grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first as Tyler Tachman drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on an infield miscue and scored on Snider’s one-out base hit to left.

Chapel Hill increased its lead to 4-0 in the visitors’ third as leadoff batter Will Epstein raced all the way to second on a throwing error and one out later went to third when Grant Stough dashed to first on a third-strike wild pitch.

Marlowe Iorio followed with a single to right to score Epstein and send Stough to third, and the latter then came home when Snider lofted a sacrifice fly to right.

Before the inning was over, Iorio stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield throwing error.

The Tigers stretched their advantage to 5-0 in the top of the fourth, filling the bases with one away when Lonegan walked, Trevor Liebe blooped an opposite-field single to right and Epstein reached on an error before Tachman was hit by a pitch to force in Lonegan.

Jordan-Matthews picked up a solo run in the bottom of the fourth as Christopher Morgan poked a one-out opposite-field base hit to right and went to third when Moore singled to center prior to coming in to score on a groundout by Kevin Cano.

The Jets took advantage of Snider’s wildness on the hill in home fifth to close the gap to 5-4 as Camden Fuquay and Thomas Smith led off the frame with consecutive free passes before pulling off a successful double steal.

One out later back-to-back walks to Rios and Morgan forced in Fuquay, and Moore followed with a two-run single down the left field line to chase Snider from the mound.

Enter White, who then struck out Cano, Hinshaw and Snyder in succession to put an end to J-M’s rally.

Chapel Hill added a lone run in the visitors’ sixth to go up 6-4 as Epstein reached on a two-out fielder’s choice and came around to score on back-to-back base hits by Tachman and Stough.

The Tigers then batted around their last turn at-bat, pushing across four runs to account for the final margin.

Snider opened the top of the seventh with a double into the left field corner prior to Will Eble being plunked with a pitch. After both runners were sacrificed up a base, Snider scurried home on a wild pitch as Eble moved to third.

Following a walk to White, Soloman Donaldson plated Eble with a fielder’s choice and went to second when Epstein reached on an error.

Donaldson and Epstein then pulled off a successful delayed double steal, with the former coming in to score, before the latter sprinted home when Tachman reached on an infield error.


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