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Roberts lifts Tigers past Cedar Shoals

COVINGTON - Ross Roberts' second home run of the season, and the second in school history, turned out to be the difference in Alcovy's 3-2 win over Cedar Shoals on Monday at Tiger Field.

In the bottom of fifth inning in a scoreless game, Alcovy grabbed a 1-0 lead when pinch runner Drew Parker scored on a Taylor Jackson grounder.

Cody Bala got things started with a lead-off double before Parker took his place. Parker reached third on a Beau Thomas sacrifice bunt before scoring to give the Tigers the lead.

Roberts made it 3-0 with a two-run blast inside the right field pole.

"That was timely," Alcovy coach Joe Mobley said. "You never know when you could relax, you never know when you have enough (runs) in baseball."

The Jaguars cut Alcovy's lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth on a Luke Mauldin double to plate Tyler Duncan.

Mauldin made it a one-run game on a Dwayne Pierce hit before Alcovy pitcher Jon Pollard got the second out on strikes and ended Cedar Shoals' at-bat with a put-out at first base.

After Alcovy failed to add to its tally in the home half of the sixth inning, Jackson came in and closed the game for Pollard after facing four batters.

In six innings of work, Pollard faced 26 batters, fanning eight and allowing five hits.

"Jon is very much a control pitcher," Mobley said. "He had a great game, but I think he got a little tired in the sixth inning. I almost let him got too far, but I felt like he was still throwing good."

Although it was Alcovy that struck first, the Jaguars almost had that distinction in the fifth inning.

Cedar Shoals started the fifth inning with back-to-back singles. The Jaguars advanced on a wild pitch, putting runners second and third base with no outs.

However, Pollard got out of the inning with two strikeouts and a ground out.

"That was huge. If they get on top of us I don't know what our kids do. If they would've drawn first blood, with us being at home, it might have done something to our kids a little bit emotionally," Mobley said. "We stayed them off with good pitching."

Offensively, the Tigers struggled early in the contest, getting three hits in four innings. But Alcovy kept trying until they were able to get the best of Duncan, the Jaguar pitcher.

"They've (Cedar) been struggling lately, but we have, too," Mobley said. " You have two struggling baseball teams that really played a good baseball game. It was a well-pitched baseball game by both teams. That was their No. 1 (pitcher), the best thing they've got."

Shaun Carter paced the Tigers at the plate, going 2-for-3 which included a double.

"There was no timing for us early in the game. Then around the fourth inning we started getting a little timing, got a couple of key hits and Ross hit the home run," Mobley said.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.