RAMSEUR — Southpaw Caleb Staley scattered seven hits in tossing a complete-game shutout while Carolina manufactured both of its runs following walks as the Coyotes nipped the Piedmont Whitetails …
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RAMSEUR — Southpaw Caleb Staley scattered seven hits in tossing a complete-game shutout while Carolina manufactured both of its runs following walks as the Coyotes nipped the Piedmont Whitetails 2-0 in a matchup of Old North State League rivals Saturday night at I. Fletcher Craven Stadium.
With the triumph Carolina improved to 4-3 in the league standings, while Piedmont fell to 3-5.
Becoming the first Coyotes’ hurler to go the distance on the mound this season, Staley walked four and fanned five while throwing a total of 119 pitches, including 72 (61%) for strikes.
“Getting my first shot at starting tonight I wanted to make the most of the opportunity, and even though I hadn’t thrown in probably a week and a half, I felt like I had good control of all my pitches,” said Staley afterwards.
“Whenever I got into a little trouble I was fortunate to come up with some big strikeouts or have the defense make solid plays behind me.”
Carolina coach Riley Nelson commented it was an amazing effort by Staley, who pitched his way out of several jams while only allowing two runners to advance as far as third base.
“On a night when both starting pitchers threw well, Caleb kept his composure the entire way, and even though he appeared to get a little tired in the late innings, he had such good control of his fast ball and slider I wasn’t thinking of taking him out,” stated Nelson.
“While we only managed to collect five hits this evening, we still found a way to get guys on base and move them over to score enough runs to win.”
Whitetails’ starter Da’vonn Johnson went six innings on the hill and was saddled with the loss despite surrendering just four hits and a pair of earned runs in addition to walking three and striking out three.
Piedmont’s Colton Lineman hurled one inning in relief, allowing one hit besides whiffing one, before Jeb Byerly came on to pitch one frame of hitless ball while issuing one free pass and fanning two.
“I thought all the pitchers threw well tonight and filled the strike zone,” related Whitetails’ coach Christian Snider.
“We gave ourselves opportunities to put runs on the board, but Staley did a good job keeping us off balance and we just couldn’t get a timely hit when we needed one.”
The Coyotes gave Staley all the offensive support he needed by scoring a solo run in the bottom of the second when Chase Hetzel walked on four pitches with one away prior to stealing both second and third before coming home on Tyler Dodson’s two-out single up the middle.
Carolina added an insurance run in the home half of the sixth as Tyler Myers drew a free pass leading off the inning, went to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a fly-out and scored when Cort Maynard lofted a sacrifice fly to left.
Piedmont threatened in the top of the seventh as Trevor Fluke notched a leadoff single to left and moved to second when Matthew Bryant, who went three-for-four at the plate, blooped a base hit to center.
But Staley then bore down and got out of the inning by retiring the next three batters on a fielder’s choice and back-to-back strikeouts.
The Whitetails attempted to stage a two-out rally in the top of the ninth as Byerly coaxed a full-count walk and advanced to second when Lineman blooped a single to center before Staley got Tre’vonn Johnson to bounce back to the mound to seal the victory.