The Golden Eagles have hit the diamond running.
Big Walnut (2-0) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first two innings of play en route to a 6-inning, 14-4 run-rule non-conference decision over the visiting Cardington Pirates (0-2) Saturday afternoon in Sunbury. The Golden Eagles opened the 2014 campaign by shutting out visiting North Union 3-0 behind senior Kyle Duncan’s 3-hit complete-game performance in their season opener on Tuesday, April 1.
“We came out and played solid baseball against Cardington,” assistant BW coach Carl Weiss said. “We took advantage of the opportunities Cardington gave us, executed in the field, and came away with a victory.”
Big Walnut jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead thanks to the timely hitting of seniors Ryan Grieser and Duncan. After sophomore leadoff batter Nick Moser beat out a perfect bunt down the third base line and junior Matt Tarney walked to open the bottom of the first, Moser came home on a wild pitch and Duncan lined a double off the left field fence for a 2-0 lead. After the Golden Eagles loaded the bases when junior Brayden Shepherd reached on an error and junior Garrett Grover was hit by a pitch, Grieser dropped a pop fly single to center plating both Duncan and Shepherd.
The Golden Eagles made it 6-0 with two in the bottom of the second. Moser opened the inning by being hit by a pitch and senior Jeremy Bok and Shepherd both drew walks to load the bases. Junior Brandon Daniels responded lining a single to left scoring both Bok and Shepherd.
The Pirates got on the board with pair of runs in the top of the third off Big Walnut starter sophomore Tommy Fleser on bases-loaded walks to John Levings and Josh Kill before Daniels came on in relief to end the inning on Noah Zierden’s fly ball to center field.
Big Walnut answered with their second 4-run frame of the afternoon in the bottom of the third to take a 10-2 advantage. After junior Mike Blackburn, who had reached base on a bunt single, scored on a wild pitch, Moser walked and came home on Tarney’s double. Bok followed with a walk and Duncan singled home both Tarney and Bok, who had walked, for the 8-run lead.
The Golden Eagles made it 11-2 in the bottom of the fourth as Moser drew a one-out walk, stole second and third and came home on a wild pitch.
Cardington answered with two runs in the top of the fifth off Daniels to cut the BW lead to 7 runs at 11-4 as Drew Schaffer reached on an infield single and scored on Dustin Blanton’s double. Blanton would cross home plate on John Dickerson’s infield ground out.
The Golden Eagles opened the bottom of the fifth as Dickerson, on in relief for the Pirates, issued walks to freshman Parker Imertreijis and junior Chad Little, but retired the next three BW batters on two fly balls and a strikeout.
Big Walnut took advantage in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases on Blackburn’s single to right, a walk to Moser and Tarney’s infield single to deep short. Bok plated Blackburn with a sacrifice fly. After Imertreijis hit into a fielder’s choice, Little singled home both Tarney and Imerteijis home for a 14-4 lead and the run-rule victory.
Daniels, who came on in relief of Fleser with two out in the bottom of the third inning, worked 3 1/3 innings allowing 2 runs, both earned, on 3 hits and 2 bases on balls while striking out 4, was credited with the mound win in relief of Fleser. Fleser allowed two runs, both earned, on 1 hit, 5 walks and 2 hit batters in his 2 2/3 innings of work. Levings started for Cardington, allowing 6 runs, four earned on 4 hits, 3 walks and 3 hit batters, in taking the loss.
Big Walnut had 11 hits on the day to go with 10 walks and 3 hit batsmen. Tarney was 2-for-3 with a double, 3 runs scored and 2 runs batted in. Duncan was 2-for-3 with a double, 2 RBIs and a run and Blackburn was 2-for-4 with 2 runs. Moser reached base 5 times with a bunt single, 3 bases on balls and was hit by a pitch while scoring 4 runs. Of the Golden Eagles 10 stolen bases on the day, Moser stole 7 bases.