Bears claw Jaguars, 8-5

Ge­or­gia Perime­ter’s Mathis records 10 strike­outs in loss

The Covington News - - Sports - By Rocky Mer­ritt

COV­ING­TON — Not even a strong pitch­ing per­for­mance by fresh­manWill Mathis could lead his team to a win Tues­day, as Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege fell to Truett-McCon­nell, 8-5.

De­spite six in­nings of re­lief work from Mathis, in­clud­ing 10strike­outs, it wasn’t enough for the Jaguars (11-19 over­all).

“Mathis is a fresh­man who is steadily get­ting bet­ter,” Jaguars coach Danny Blue said. “This was his best out­ing.”

Prior to Mathis’ mop up du­ties, Ge­or­gia Perime­ter start­ing pitcher Jesse Rich­e­son strug­gled from the be­gin­ning.

Af­ter sin­gles by Re­cardo Billups and Cory Kirk­land, fresh­man Eric McGee slammed a 415-foot home run over the fence with plenty of room to spare, putting the Bears up, 3-0.

“I was down 0- 2 and (Rich­e­son) gave me one down in the mid­dle,” McGee said as he re­called the at-bat. “He made a mis­take, which he rarely does.”

Billups added to the lead in the sec­ond in­ning af­ter an RBI sin­gle, fol­lowed by a tworun dou­ble to give the Bears a 6-0 ad­van­tage.

“We fi­nally started to swing the bats,” Bears coach Jim Waits said. “We gave them a lot of walks, but

then got strikes when we needed them.”

It was then that Blue had seen enough, pulling his starter af­ter one and two thirds in­nings. Over­all, Rich­e­son gave up six runs on four hits while get­ting no help from his de­fense, as the Jags com­mit­ted two er­rors.

En­ter Mathis, who im­me­di­ately struck out McGee to get out of the in­ning.

Mathis con­tin­ued his tor­rid pace on the hill by strik­ing out three straight Bears in the top of the third frame. His speed and con­trol sta­bi­lized the Jags, giv­ing them a chance to crawl back into the game.

Mean­while, Truett-McCon­nell start­ing pitcher Har­ley Free­man also had con­trol prob­lems. Hewalked Ja­son Dod­son, hit Trent Free­man and walked Wat­son Lav­i­gno to load the bases. How­ever, a pop fly by Jeremy Riehn and strike­outs by Casey Young and Den­ver Sto­vall squan­dered the scor­ing op­por­tu­nity for the Jags.

Nev­er­the­less, Mathis was still throw­ing heat, fan­ning Ryan Hansen for his fifth strike­out in a row. He later picked up his sixth strike­out to end the in­ning.

“I felt strong and had con­trol,” Mathis said. “In the sixth, I was tired and look­ing at the dugout for them to warm some­one up.”

In the bot­tom of the fourth frame, Free­man still could not find the strike zone, walk­ing Russ Cooper and Dod­son in the process. Trent Free­man took ad­van­tage with a deep two-run dou­ble to cen­ter field to close the gap, 6-2.

It wasn’t un­til the top of the fifth when Mathis gave up his first hit, a dou­ble by Cory Kirk­land. How­ever, Mathis re­cov­ered only to strike­out an­other three Bears, up­ping his to­tal to nine punch outs.

Still, the Jags could not score in the bot­tom half of the in­ning, nor could they plate any run­ners in the sixth, de­spite Mathis record­ing his 10th strike­out.

Soon af­ter Mathis was yanked, an RBI dou­ble by Clint Har­ri­son in the eighth in­ning made it 7-2.

But in the bot­tom of the in­ning the Ge­or­gia Perime­ter bats came alive, as Tyler Bet­sill tripled to make it 7-3. Cooper soon added an RBI dou­ble, fol­lowed by an RBI sin­gle by Dod­son.

The Bears would add an­other run in the ninth, putting the pres­sure on the Jags to mount a come­back.

With two run­ners on base in the bot­tom of the ninth, they came up short, end­ing the game on three con­sec­u­tive strike­outs.

The Jaguars will next host Andrew Col­lege in a dou­ble­header at 2 p.m. on Satur­day.

BLUE

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