COVINGTON — The wind played havoc on the Motlow State outfielders while Jaguars pitcher Dustin Beggs shut down the Bucks offense allowing Georgia Perimeter to advance to the second round of the double-elimination NJCAA East-Central District Tournament with a 5-1 win at Jaguar Field on Friday.
“We got a good pitching performance from Dustin then we got timely hitting. Their left-hander threw the ball well and kept is off balance but we were able to get to him in the third,” GPC head coach Brett Campbell said. “The wind played a factor for sure. It was definitely a home-field advantage for us with the field being a little bit bigger and the wind gusting. Our guys are used to it and it cost them a couple of runs.”
Beggs, who is 11-4 for the year, threw a complete game where he had 13 strikeouts while allowing three hits and one walk.
“I felt really good and my team really backed me up on all the balls they put in play. I was really happy with it,” Beggs said.
The Jaguars (44-12) batters had no trouble against Motlow (40-23) starting pitcher Elliott Bush getting nine hits with five going for extra bases.
“We’re not the most patient team. The guys did a good job of laying off some borderline pitches,” Campbell said. “We usually attack the fast ball and that guy threw a lot of breaking stuff so we laid off some pitches which was nice.”
Bush pitched for eight innings where he had two strikeouts while walking four hitters to go with his nine hits.
After a LaDonis Bryant sacrifice bunt put Derrick Nelson and London Lindley in scoring position in the home half of the third inning, Morgan Bunting found the gap for a two-run double. Bunting made it 3-0 when Motlow center fielder Jonathon Daily let Jerad Curry’s hit find the wall for a RBI triple. The same thing happened to Bucks right fielder Chris Adams allowing JT Phillips to hit a double for a RBI making 4-0.
“We’re swinging the bat well. Their guy did a good job of keeping us off balance. We’re swinging it as good as we’ve been swinging it all year so I expect is to keep swinging it pretty good,” Campbell said.
Beggs had little trouble against the visiting Bucks not allowing a base runner through the first 11 batters striking out five batters. But Luke Toms ruined Beggs’ no-hitter with home run in the top of the fourth making it 4-1.
“I kind of knew it was gone right off the bat. But I was thinking that I had to get back on the mound and get my team back in the game,” Beggs said.. I just had to shake that one off.”
Curry collected another RBI with a double in the seventh inning as he plated Bunting for the second time.
The Buck threatened in the ninth inning after Beggs gave up a walk and a hit with no outs. But the Jaguars defense was able to help him out getting the win.
“I was concerned a little bit. A lot of time I get myself in a funk in the ninth inning but I usually get myself out of it,” Beggs said. “Once again my team backed me up and that was nice.”
The Jaguars will play Columbia State today at noon. Columbia State defeated Darton State 5-2 in the first game of the tournament.
“Columbia is probably one of the best coached teams we’ll play all year. Mike Corn does a heck of a job. The thing about those guys is that they play about as hard as anybody we’ve played,” Campbell said. “There’s never an easy out, they’re always on base, they take a lot of pitches, they work the count. We’re going to play our best ball game just to be in the game.”
Darton took a 2-0 lead in the first inning before Columbia State pitcher Scooter Hightower set down 24 straight Cavaliers until a Tevin Thompson single in ninth.