ROCKINGHAM — Pinch hitter Brandon Gibson went up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning looking for one pitch.
And he got it.
Gibson ripped the delivery from Charlotte Christian reliever Matthew Reitz into the gap in right-center for a leadoff triple.
“I was looking for a fastball and crush it,” Gibson said.
Two pitches after his triple, Gibson scored on Drew Butler’s bunt single to give Richmond a 2-1 victory over Charlotte Christian 2-1 Friday night at Raider Field.
“We work on our bunting a lot,” Butler said. “Bunting is something you have to do and it helps win games for us, like tonight.”
Richmond coach Ricky Young confessed after the game he nearly didn’t have Butler bunting in that situation. Earlier in the game Butler executed the safety squeeze with Jeremy Smith on third and one out to tie the game at 1.
“I really thought about having Drew hit away and bunting Bradley (Brown),” Young said. “We work on that play a lot in practice. Our depth came up big for us because we were able to run different people up there and Brandon had a big hit for us.”
James Buie picked up the win in relief for Richmond (1-1). Buie pitched a scoreless seventh, but needed to work out of trouble. Josh Hall opened the inning with a double down the left-field line. Grant Hill and Reece Hampton struck out before Zach McIlroy walked. Buie escaped the threat by getting Nick Owens to strike out looking.
Nic Bullard went six innings, give up one run on four hits, four walks and struck out eight in his first start this season for the Raiders.
Charlotte Christian starter Bailey Oher had nine strikeouts and allowed just two base runners and one hit in his six innings of work. Oher hit Smith with a pitch to open the bottom of the fourth. Smith stole second, moved to third on a balk and scored on Butler’s first safety-squeeze bunt of the game.
Young called Oher “probably the best pitcher we will see this year, until deep in the playoffs” following his performance.
“He threw the ball well tonight,” Young said. “He has a long release point and he had a lot to do with us only getting one hit off of him. He will hold a lot of teams to just one hit.”
Richmond will return to the diamond 5 p.m. Tuesday when Anson County visits Raider Stadium.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.