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Crushed Cougar

Another strong pitching performance on the mound and lots of run support boosted the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots into the second round of the 2009 Jonah McWaters Tournament Thursday afternoon in Troy.

Pike (4-0) scored eight runs early and held on for the 9-1 victory over Crenshaw Christian in the opening game of the tournament.

“We played good defense and hit the ball a lot better than we have been hitting it,” PLAS head coach Butch Austin said. “We are playing good overall right now and it was great to get that opening win in the tournament.”

Bradley Floyd went the distance on the mound for a complete game for Pike. He allowed one run on two hits, struck out nine batters and walked none.

“Bradley pitched well for us today,” Austin said.

Austin said he was happy to be able to get every player on the bench in the game at some point.

Pike opened the scoring in the second inning. Justin McLaughlin started the three-run rally with a single, Alex Adams reached on an error and Logan Stewart had a bunt single to load the bases.

Trey Walters then registered an RBI in a somewhat unconventional fashion.

“We had the forced balk play called and the runner at third ran towards home trying to get the pitcher to balk, but he was not paying us any attention,” Austin said. “But we got the run in anyways and that was great.”

Corey Goodson reached on an error one batter later and Adams and Stewart scored on the error.

The Patriots broke the game open in the third inning with five runs to take an 8-0 lead.

“I thought our aggressive base running paid off today,” Austin said.

Will Starling singled to start the hit parade, McLaughlin singled, Adams walked and Starling scored when Stewart was hit by a pitch.

Walters then singled in McLaughlin and Adams with a two-RBI single. After Goodson grounded into a fielder’s choice, Blake Thomas singled to score Walters and Goodson.

PLAS scored its final run in the fourth on an RBI-single by Adams to score Starling.

Crenshaw scored its lone run in the sixth inning.

Walters finished the game 1-for-1 with three RBIs. McLaughlin went 2-for-2 and Starling, Adams, Stewart and Thomas each had one hit.

The Patriots get a day off today, but return to action Saturday at 8 a.m. They will face the winner of the Randolph Southern-Abbeville game that will be played today at 2 p.m.